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The Brief: Sept. 25, 2012

Amid a gaffe-laden month in national politics, the wreckage of Gov. Rick Perry's failed presidential campaign has re-entered the spotlight.

Perry for President signs sit in the conference room where the candidate ended his presidential hopes on Jan. 19, 2012 in Charleston, S.C.

The Big Conversation:

Amid a gaffe-laden month in national politics, the wreckage of Gov. Rick Perry's failed presidential campaign has managed to re-enter the spotlight.

In case you missed it, the Tribune's Jay Root this weekend released an e-book on Perry's ill-fated — and now fabled — presidential campaign. Titled Oops! A Diary from the 2012 Campaign Trail, the book recounts Perry's remarkable rise and disastrous fall, and reveals some previously unreported episodes involving the candidate and his unraveling.

In one of the book's biggest revelations, Jay writes that previously undiagnosed sleep apnea contributed to the governor's infamous "oops" moment and other poor debate performances. The governor's medical team discovered the disorder after he began suffering from insomnia on the campaign trail. 

As a top campaign aide says in the book: “Once he got to exercising again, I think he had more energy and started to get back into the swing of things, but by then it was too late. The narrative had already been set. He was becoming an afterthought.”

Another revelation: The campaign attempted to hide the role a gay pollster, Tony Fabrizio, played in the development of an infamous TV ad in which Perry railed against gays serving openly in the military, and even went so far as to leak an inaccurate version of campaign infighting to the Huffington Post.

In today's excerpt, Jay recounts the scene that followed Perry's announcement in January that he would return to Texas to reassess his candidacy: "I walked with [CBS reporter] Rebecca Kaplan back to our floor, and we both decided this was the most disastrous and yet most entertaining campaign we would probably ever cover. It would never be this good again. From treasonous Ben Bernanke to all those heartless immigrant haters, through the oops moment, the voting-age gaffe, Sonia Monteyamor and Joe Arapahoe, we had been there to chronicle it. We killed it, man!"

Though the media continues to fixate on gaffes as Election Day draws near, the book reminds us that before there was the "47 percent" and "you didn't build that," there was Rick Perry.


  • The national conservative group FreedomWorks on Monday endorsed state Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, for speaker of the Texas House. After helping Ted Cruz defeat Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the GOP U.S. Senate primary in July, the group hinted last month that it would stay involved in Texas politics. Now, with Speaker Joe Straus at the top of its target list, the organization says it will mount a sustained effort on behalf of Hughes that will include phone calls to House members and "targeted grassroots action in districts where Bryan needs our support," the San Antonio Express-News reports.
  • Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan invoked Ron Paul's name when asked by a questioner at a campaign event Monday why libertarians should support Republicans and not a third party. "Do you want Barack Obama to be re-elected? Then don't vote for Ron Paul," Ryan said, according to Politico, adding: "Look at where we are, and this is where we all see eye to eye. We believe in limited government and economic freedom. We believe in pro-growth policies that say you keep your money in your family's budget, in your family's business instead of sending it to Washington in the first place. That creates prosperity, freedom and jobs."
  • Convicted murderer Cleve Foster is hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court will — for the fourth time this year — stay his execution, which is scheduled for tonight, as the Tribune's Brandi Grissom reports. Foster's lawyer, Maurie Levin, who has argued that the inmate previously received ineffective legal representation, said the court has called for a record in the case, meaning "they’re taking it seriously."

"This is a massive beginning of a new Ottoman Empire that President Obama can take great credit for." — U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, on the floor of the House on Friday


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