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The Brief: June 5, 2012

Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst have agreed to debate before the July runoff, but there's an unexpected sticking point: the English language.

Candidate Ted Cruz attacks Lt. Governor David Dewhurst in a U.S. Senate candidate debate at the Hilton in Austin on January 12, 2012.

The Big Conversation:

Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst have agreed to debate before the July runoff, but there's an unexpected sticking point: the English language.

After Cruz challenged Dewhurst in his election night speech to five debates before the July 31 runoff, both candidates confirmed Monday that they would participate in two televised forums. 

But another proposition, apparently floated by Univision, also surfaced Monday: a debate in Spanish — a language that Dewhurst, who served as a CIA officer in South America in the 1970s, speaks fluently but that Cruz does not.

Cruz, the son of a Cuban immigrant, told Univision he was open to the format but that voters would be better served by a debate in English. As he told the news station, “Look, my Spanish is a situation that many of your viewers will recognize. … I grew up here speaking ‘Spanglish.'"

In a statement, he added: "Most Texans speak English. Now, after skipping 35 debates all over the State of Texas, suddenly Dewhurst wants to debate … in Spanish? In any language, parece que el Señor Dewhurst les tiene miedo a los votantes de Texas." (Translation: "It seems that Dewhurst is afraid of Texas voters.")

Dewhurst spokesman Matt Hirsch told The New York Times that the lieutenant governor was "interested" and "intrigued" by the idea and that Dewhurst would "accept other televised debates as they become organized."


  • Mitt Romney begins his two-day fundraising swing through Texas today in Fort Worth, where he'll visit an office supply company in Fort Worth to highlight what the campaign calls “President Obama’s hostility to job creators,” the Tribune's Jay Root reports. On Wednesday, Romney will attend a San Antonio fundraiser hosted by billionaire Red McCombs and Gene Powell, the chairman of the University of Texas Board of Regents, among others.
  • Gov. Rick Perry and other legislative leaders on Monday instructed state agencies to request no more money in 2013 than they were granted last year, according to The Dallas Morning News. The instructions, from Jonathan Hurst, Perry’s budget director, and Ursula Parks, the Legislative Budget Board's acting director, also indicated that agencies could face even more cuts later this year in addition to the billions of dollars slashed last year.
  • Ron Paul, still a presidential candidate but no longer an active campaigner, over the weekend netted another small win. According to U.S. News and World Report, Paul claimed victory at the Louisiana GOP convention, where he scored 27 of the 46 delegates.


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