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The Evening Brief: Sept. 12, 2012

Your evening reading: Perry blames Obama for attacks in Middle East; poll shows Romney with 15-point lead in Texas; sales tax collections up 12.6 percent over last year

Gov. Rick Perry presents the Governor's Award for Historic Preservation to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Wildland Firefighting Teams for their work combating wildfires the state has faced in the past year.


•   Perry blasts, blames Obama for Benghazi, Cairo attacks and Ambassador Chris Stevens death (Houston Chronicle): "Texas Gov. Rick Perry released a statement Wednesday afternoon blasting President Barack Obama for the attacks on the American mission in Benghazi and the American embassy in Cairo and went a step further than Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, blaming the president for the deaths of the four Americans who were killed in the attack in Benghazi. … 'Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans are now dead in the chaos of a destabilized Middle East. President Obama said he "rejects" these brutal acts, and condemns them in "the strongest terms" — yet still acknowledges our attackers' supposed justification. This kind of language broadcasts an impotent foreign policy that fostered this crisis in the first place.'"

•   Rep. McCaul calls for Egypt and Libya embassy closings (The Dallas Morning News): "Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, called today for the immediate closing of U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya, and suspension of aid to both countries. … 'The United States needs to send a clear signal to other countries that this barbaric behavior will not be tolerated,' said McCaul, who chairs the Homeland Security Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, and serves on the Foreign Affairs Middle East Subcommittee."

•   Texas sales tax revenue up 12.6 percent for year (Austin American-Statesman): "Texas closed out its 2012 fiscal year at the end of August with its most important source of revenue — the sales tax — up 12.6 percent from the previous year, Comptroller Susan Combs reported on Wednesday."

•   House candidate Randy Weber named ‘Young Gun’ in NRCC program (The Dallas Morning News): "The National Republican Congressional Committee named Texas congressional candidate Randy Weber a ‘Young Gun’ on Wednesday, the highest ranking of a four-level program used to spotlight Republican candidates in open-seat and challenger races. … He faces former U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson in the district where GOP Rep. Ron Paul is retiring. 'This validates what we’ve been saying all along; this is a new district with no incumbent — it is not a Republican seat,' Lampson said by email. 'We’ve been a Red-to-Blue candidate since January, sounds like Republicans finally got around to polling the district and now know what we’ve known for nine months.'"

New in The Texas Tribune:

•   Survey Finds Big Lead in Texas for Romney, Thanks to White Voters: "Mitt Romney may be struggling in some key swing states, but there’s no slippage for him in conservative Texas, a new survey by a Republican pollster shows. His 55-40 lead over Barack Obama here is due to a huge lead among white voters."

•   John Courage: The TT Interview: The Democratic candidate for SD-25, widely viewed as an underdog to Republican Donna Campbell, explains why he thinks he can win, why he's running and what he hopes to do in office.

•   Little Movement for Top Texas Universities in U.S. News Rankings: "For the second year in a row, Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin are the only Texas institutions in the top 50 national institutions in U.S. News & World Report's latest college rankings."

•   Billionaire's Firm Makes Initial Payments in Deal Over Radioactive Dump: "Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons' Waste Control Specialists, which runs a controversial radioactive waste dump in Andrews County, has made its first payments to the county and state after years of debate among regulators and environmental advocates."

•   Joint Committee Considers Financial Solutions for TWIA: "Insurance experts, legislators and coastal residents on Wednesday discussed how to reform the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association at the first hearing of the Joint Committee on Seacoast Territory Insurance."

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