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The Evening Brief: Sept. 26, 2012

Your evening reading: Cruz answers Sadler's criticism over student loans; report says family planning cuts closed 53 Texas clinics; Gary Johnson calls Ron Paul write-in "meaningless"

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•   Cruz waves off Sadler’s claim he’d gut federal college loans (The Dallas Morning News): "Texas GOP Senate nominee Ted Cruz on Wednesday dismissed Democratic foe Paul Sadler’s criticism that Cruz’s proposal to abolish the U.S. Department of Education would jeopardize federal student loan programs for college students. 'Of course not,' Cruz said after an Austin appearance. 'Student aid is critically important. … In my life, education opened doors for my parents and for me that never would’ve been opened,' he said."

•   Gary Johnson: Ron Paul write-in 'meaningless' (Politico): "Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate, said Wednesday that writing in Rep. Ron Paul’s name on the November ballot 'will effectively be meaningless.'"

•   NRSC hints it's having second thoughts about Akin (Politico): "The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which vowed not to spend a dime on Todd Akin if he stayed in the race, is striking a more conciliatory tone with the controversial Missouri Senate candidate. Rob Jesmer, executive director of the committee, said in a Wednesday statement that his campaign committee would 'continue to monitor this race' and that Akin is the 'far more preferable candidate' now that a Tuesday drop-out deadline has passed."

•   Texas Republican, California Democrat say bipartisanship is not dead (Houston Chronicle): "Two politicians from opposite sides of the aisle looked like old friends at a forum on civil discourse in West Texas. Tired of being labeled as members of the 'least productive Congress,' Ted Poe, a Texas Republican, and Janice Hahn, a California Democrat, came together at their alma mater, Abilene Christian University, to prove that doing so was possible."

•   Vt. begins shipping radioactive waste to Texas (The Associated Press): "Nearly 20 years after the Vermont and Texas Legislatures first agreed to have Vermont ship low-level radioactive waste to the Lone Star State, the first shipment of waste has been made."

•   When Will the Driverless Car Travel to Texas? (KUT News): "Robots can perform surgery, build machinery, trade stocks, and even write news stories. And now they can drive cars. California legalized so-called self-driving cars yesterday. Nevada has actually issued a drivers license to a robot car. And while Texas isn't exactly stepping on the gas with regards to driverless cars, it isn't stuck in neutral either."

New in The Texas Tribune:

•   Report: Family Planning Cuts Caused More Than 50 Clinics to Close: "Massive cuts lawmakers made to family planning funding in Texas caused 53 clinics statewide to close, according to a report published by the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday. Other clinics reduced services. Advocates for funding worry Texas' poorest women are going without care."

•   TribuneFest: A Conversation with Castro and Cruz: "At the 2012 Texas Tribune Festival, I interviewed San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and Republican U.S. Senate nominee Ted Cruz about a range of national and state issues, including taxes, health care and immigration."

•   Interactive: The Uninsured in Texas: "Texas has more uninsured residents than any other state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This interactive shows demographics of the uninsured and how many people could be insured by 2014 if federal reform is implemented, according to projections by the Hobby Center."

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