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The Brief: Sept. 11, 2015

CNN on Thursday night announced who would be on the main stage at its GOP presidential debate next week and as had been expected, it is Carly Fiorina who will join the first tier candidates and not Rick Perry.

Former Gov. Rick Perry at the first GOP presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio on Aug. 6, 2015.

The Big Conversation

CNN on Thursday night announced who would be on the main stage at its GOP presidential debate next week and as had been expected, it is Carly Fiorina who will join the first tier candidates and not Rick Perry.

As the Tribune's Abby Livingston wrote, Fiorina and Perry were both relegated to the undercard debate at last month's first televised encounter among the GOP presidential hopefuls. But with the former Hewlett Packard CEO outperforming Perry in the forum, she was able to move up while the former Texas governor "has since faced serious financial struggles in his second bid for the presidency."

CNN also noted on Thursday that Fiorina was the only candidate to take advantage of a rules change that allowed a candidate who moved into the Top 10 in presidential poll performance after the August debate to qualify for next week's debate.

The Sept. 16 debate will take place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.

Trib Must-Reads

Examiners: Company Not To Blame For North Texas Quakes, by Jim Malewitz – The Texas Railroad Commission looks poised to clear a second oilfield company of responsibility for a series of earthquakes that rattled two North Texas towns — despite research suggesting otherwise.  

Audit: Scant Proof of Event Fund's Tax Impact, by Eleanor Dearman – Texas has given out tens of millions of dollars to entice events like Formula 1 racing and the Super Bowl to the state. But no one's done a great job of testing whether the state gets a good return on its investment, a new audit has found.

Paxton Names Legal Defense Team, by Morgan Smith – After spending more than two weeks without a lawyer, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has secured a defense team in the ongoing financial fraud case against him. 

The Day Ahead

•    Following a national proclamation from President Barack Obama, Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered all flags in Texas, including the state flag, to fly at half-staff tomorrow in honor of those who were killed or injured in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Elsewhere

Flight 93 visitor center 'tells incredible story of heroism', The Associated Press 

Houston lawyer to lead Paxton defense Houston Chronicle

Texas roads still need long-term funding, KXAN-TV

Game won’t be business as usual for JaySan Antonio Express-News

In wake of Blue Bell outbreak, FDA crafts new food safety rulesAustin American-Statesman

Three GOP leaders: Whoa on Medicaid rate cuts The Dallas Morning News

Presidential hopeful Carson brings campaign to Conroe, Houston Chronicle 

Cruz and Cornyn, as usual, at odds over tactics on Iran dealAustin American-Statesman

So Many Sports, So Little Time: Texas High School Athletes Opt Of Out Football, NPR

Quote to Note

“There’s this provider who keeps making them very friendly, like, cartoon-looking. They don’t sell as much as the one that has a big mouth and angry face."

— Piñata salesperson Guadalupe Mendez on the high demand for custom Donald Trump piñatas in South Texas.

Today in TribTalk

Don't exploit #BlackLivesMatter for political gain, by Meredith Clark — There is a creeping national narrative that seeks to re-cast #BlackLivesMatter as an emblem of ill will — one that incites lawlessness and pits law enforcement authorities against the communities they serve. And Texas is ground zero for the debate.

Texans are looking past the state’s economic woes, by Mike Baselice, Jon Hockenyos and Elyse Yates — Though declining oil prices are making their mark on the state’s economy, Texans have great faith that the Lone Star State will adapt and keep revving its job-creation engine.

News from Home

•    The latest episode of The Ticket, a co-production of the Tribune and KUT is out. The Tribune's Jay Root and KUT's Ben Philpott talk with ABC News Digital Reporter Arlette Saenz about the growing speculation that Vice President Joe Biden will join the 2016 Presidential race.

•    The full program for the 2015 Texas Tribune Festival is now available! Visit the festival's website to view the lineup for our best Fest yet!

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    The Ticket: A Live Recording and GOP Primary Debate Watch Party on Sept. 16 in Austin

•    A Conversation with UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves on Sept. 21 in Austin

•    A Conversation on The Road from Hurricane Rita on Sept. 22 in Beaumont

•    A Conversation on God & Governing on Oct. 7 in Austin

•    The Texas Tribune Festival on Oct. 16-18 at the University of Texas at Austin

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