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The Brief: Sept. 28, 2012

Months after his run, one of the details surrounding Gov. Rick Perry's unraveling on the presidential campaign trail remains murky.

Gov. Rick Perry in his office at the Texas Capitol for a round of press interviews on Feb. 21, 2012.

The Big Conversation:

Months after his run, one of the details surrounding Gov. Rick Perry's unraveling on the presidential campaign trail remains murky.

As Tribune reporter Jay Root reveals in his new e-book, Oops! A Diary from the 2012 Campaign Trail, a previously undiagnosed sleep disorder — which was discovered after Perry began suffering from insomnia on the campaign trail — contributed to the governor's infamous "oops" moment and other slip-ups during his bid.

A Perry spokeswoman confirmed to CNN on Sunday that Perry had been diagnosed with mild sleep apnea during the campaign and that the governor had received treatment.

But on Thursday, Perry contradicted the reporting about the sleep disorder, instead blaming his lack of rest on nerve pain in his foot caused by back surgery he'd undergone a couple of months before launching his presidential bid, as the San Antonio Express-News reports.

"I slept pretty much all night last night. Best I can tell, I didn’t snore or make any untowards noises," Perry said after speaking at a Google event Thursday, adding, "My issue was one of a hyper-fusion of that nerve in my foot that kept me awake and we just couldn’t — we looked at a lot of different things."

Of the sleep apnea diagnosis, Perry said: "That was one idea that came up, and the doctor said, 'Well you may have it. You may not.' Anyway, it’s a no never mind now. I’m sleeping rather well.”

But as Jay reports, one former Perry campaign adviser also confirmed that the governor had been diagnosed with and treated for sleep apnea. “There was a concerted effort with the help of physicians to give him as much relief as possible, and part of that was a CPAP machine to deal with the sleep apnea," the adviser said, referring to the breathing machine used to treat the disorder.

Perry on Thursday said he'd tried the machine for a month but that it didn't work. "They were looking at all the possibilities, and that was one," Perry said. "I’d still be using it if it worked. Didn’t work for me."

What did finally work for the avid exerciser? "Running was the cure for that," he said.


  • Attorney General Greg Abbott on Thursday said the state would aid an East Texas school district mired in controversy after a national group tried to prevent its high school cheerleaders from displaying signs adorned with Bible verses at football games, the Houston Chronicle reports. A state district judge this week allowed the district, Kountze ISD, to continue displaying the signs, but Abbott said the state would provide legal assistance if the group that lodged the complaint, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, sued the district.
  • The New York Times reports that the federal government has so far approved only 29 of the more than 100,000 applications it has received from young illegal immigrants seeking deportation deferrals under the new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. The Obama administration, which announced the program in June, began accepting applications on Aug. 15, setting off a scramble among illegal immigrants across the U.S. to acquire documentation like passports and school transcripts. The San Antonio Express-News reports that demand has run especially high at school districts and government agencies in parts of San Antonio and South Texas.
  • Ted Cruz made a practice of slamming Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst for skipping candidate forums during their U.S. Senate primary fight, but now Cruz has found himself on the receiving end of a similar attack from his Democratic opponent, Paul Sadler. Cruz has agreed to two debates, in Dallas, but recently declined a third invitation for a Houston debate. "He chased Lt. Gov. Dewhurst all across this state and called him everything in the world because he wouldn't debate him, and it's a little hypocritical to me," Sadler told WFAA-TV.
  • In keeping with our popular Public Schools Explorer app, today we're launching our Higher Education Explorer, an easy-to-navigate interactive database lets you explore key academic, enrollment and cost records on all of Texas' higher education institutions. It's the first source for easily finding statistics about how well Texas' 100-plus colleges and universities perform.

"Of course Gov Perry supports Todd Akin, a conservative Republican, over Claire McCaskill, a Democrat." — Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier to ABC News on Wednesday


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