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The Brief: Nov. 12, 2013

Monday could be summed up as a tale of two political speeches.

Texas attorney general and candidate for governor of Texas Greg Abbott during a campaign stop in San Marcos, Texas on Octobe…

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Monday could be summed up as a tale of two political speeches.

They were given by the two leading lights of today's Texas GOP. Each illuminated in its own way where each man might be guiding his political path in the months to come.

In Bedford, Attorney General Greg Abbott gave a 25-minute speech to the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party in which he detailed a dozen new policy positions, "touching on ethics reform, privacy rights, education, guns and Obamacare," according to The Texas Tribune's Aman Batheja who was on hand to cover it.

The purpose of such a policy-heavy speech, the presumptive GOP nominee for governor said, was to present himself as a new kind of GOP candidate. "One that is very substantive," Batheja reported Abbott as saying. "One that has a lot of policy details.”

Abbott has made a point of trying to present himself as a different kind of leader from his predecessor. So a speech with a Romneyesque multi-point program for his administration could be seen as a way to differentiate himself from the current governor, who has steadily decreased the number of new policy initiatives in the waning years of his time in office.

Across the state in Houston, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, gave a speech that was more notable for where he spoke than for what he said. Cruz addressed for the first time the Greater Houston Partnership. As reported by the Houston Chronicle'Matthew Tresaugue, "many of its members are the type of Republican stalwarts that cringed when the senator helped force a government shutdown over his opposition to President Barack Obama's health-care law."

Tresaugue wrote that the address focused on promoting economic growth in an attempt to reach out "to the more mainstream wing of the Republican Party." With Cruz's support so heavily concentrated among the Tea Party wing of the GOP, an attempt to broaden his base of support within his party would be expected if he has any intention of running for the presidential nomination in 2016.

Culled

•    Abbott Unveils Proposals for Privacy, Ethics and DNA (The Texas Tribune): "In the most detailed speech since launching his bid for governor earlier this year, Attorney General Greg Abbott laid out a dozen new policy proposals Monday evening, touching on ethics reform, privacy rights, education, guns and Obamacare."

•    Cruz reaches out to mainstream Republicans (Houston Chronicle): "U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a darling of ideologically-driven conservatives, reached out Monday to the more mainstream wing of the Republican Party, saying his top priority is promoting economic growth. The Texas Republican spoke for the first time to the Greater Houston Partnership, the region's chamber of commerce. While the business group is nonpartisan, many of its members are the type of Republican stalwarts that cringed when the senator helped force a government shutdown over his opposition to President Barack Obama's health-care law."

•    A Face-Off Outside Dallas in the Escalating Battle Over Texas’ Gun Culture (The New York Times): "A small meeting of a group seeking tougher gun laws was interrupted Saturday at a suburban Dallas restaurant when the woman who helped organize it saw something outside that startled her: at least two dozen men and women in the parking lot with shotguns, hunting rifles, AR-15s and AK-47s."

•    Appeals court to examine UT’s use of race in admissions (Austin American-Statesman): "On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments from both sides in Austin. The U.S. Supreme Court sent the case back to the 5th Circuit in June in a 7-1 ruling that, while not resolving matters, seemed to tilt somewhat in favor of Fisher."

•    No lessons yet from Voter ID law (The Associated Press): "There is no evidence to suggest Voter ID boosted turnout, but there is equally no evidence that Voter ID suppressed turnout. The Associated Press analyzed data obtained under an open records request and determined that 5.46 percent of Texas registered voters did not have a photo ID on file with the Department of Public Safety. That data varied considerably from county to county, with counties that had a high percentage of minorities or a high poverty rate having a higher proportion of registered voters without a matching DPS ID card."

Quote to Note“I’m showing, if you would, a new kind of Republican candidate. One that is very substantive. One that has a lot of policy details.” — Attorney General Greg Abbott, describing the dozen or so new public policy proposals he unveiled Monday evening at a Tea Party meeting in Bedford

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