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The Evening Brief: Aug. 14, 2012

Your evening reading: Hutchison responds to conservative critics; A&M trying to distance itself from shooting; state lawmakers debate additional tax for small tobacco companies

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison talks with supporters at the Bonnie Ruth's Cafe in Frisco during her run for governor.

New in The Texas Tribune:

•   Video: KBH on "The Daily Rundown": "As part of his series on retiring members of the U.S. Senate, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd interviewed outgoing Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, on this morning's edition of MSNBC's The Daily Rundown. She talked about the disappearance of the ideological middle — though she insisted 'I am not a moderate' — as well as the 'fundamental problem' with the Obama White House."

•   A&M Trying to Distance Itself from Shooting Incident: "With move-in day less than one week away, Texas A&M University officials are working to address the fallout from Monday's deadly College Station shooting — even though it did not actually occur on campus."

•   Additional Tax for Small Tobacco Companies Debated: "The state House Ways and Means Committee heard discussion Tuesday on a possible extra tax on small tobacco companies to equalize what the big tobacco companies call a competitive advantage because of pricing."

•   Interactive: West Nile Virus Cases Statewide: "State officials are reporting more than 380 human cases of the West Nile virus in Texas so far this year — and no region has been harder hit than North Texas, which has reported a dozen deaths. Here’s an interactive look at reported West Nile cases and deaths by county, using data provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services."

Culled:

•   Sen. Hutchison: 'Governors don't make the best presidents' (The Hill): "Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) says she doesn't believe experience as a governor necessarily makes a politician better suited to be president, because state executives are often lacking the necessary foreign-policy credentials required of the top post. 'In my opinion governors don't make the best presidents. That's my opinion, and it's because they don't have the foreign policy experience and they have to learn on the job,' she said on MSNBC's 'Daily Rundown' in an interview that aired Tuesday."

•   Judge denies state’s stay in voter registration case: "A federal judge in Galveston today denied the state’s request for a stay that would have allowed Texas to enforce several of its voter registration laws. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office asked for the stay on Aug. 4 — the same day it appealed an order by U.S. District Judge Gregg Costa that granted a temporary injunction sought by two Galveston residents and two national, nonpartisan groups that organize efforts to register people in areas with low registration levels."

•   GOP pros fret over Paul Ryan (Politico): Away from the cameras, and with all the usual assurances that people aren’t being quoted by name, there is an unmistakable consensus among Republican operatives in Washington: Romney has taken a risk with Ryan that has only a modest chance of going right — and a huge chance of going horribly wrong. … 'I think it’s a very bold choice. And an exciting and interesting pick. It’s going to elevate the campaign into a debate over big ideas. It means Romney-Ryan can run on principles and provide some real direction and vision for the Republican Party. And probably lose. Maybe big,' said former President George W. Bush senior adviser Mark McKinnon."

•   Democrat Marc Veasey’s Congress campaign hopes to help state Sen. Wendy Davis win, too (The Dallas Morning News): "Marc Veasey, the Democratic nominee for North Texas’ newest congressional district, says he’s taking little-known Republican Chuck Bradley seriously in November’s general election. … But Veasey’s general election campaign is not simply focused on beating Bradley. He’s looking to turn out votes in his heavily Democratic district, which overlaps with that of state Sen. Wendy Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat being challenged by Republican state Rep. Mark Shelton, also of Fort Worth.

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