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The Brief: Oct. 20, 2015

Former President George W. Bush let it be known at a fundraiser over the weekend for his brother, Jeb, that he's not fond of Ted Cruz, Texas' junior senator and GOP presidential hopeful.

Former Chief of Staff Andrew Card, l, watches at George W. Bush acknowledges applause at the Bush Library on Nov. 11, 2014.

The Big Conversation

Former President George W. Bush let it be known at a fundraiser over the weekend for his brother, Jeb, that he's not fond of Ted Cruz, Texas' junior senator and GOP presidential hopeful.

“I just don’t like the guy,” Bush said at the Denver fundraiser, as reported by Politico. One unnamed donor told the news organization, “I was like, ‘Holy sh-t, did he just say that?’ I remember looking around and seeing that other people were also looking around surprised.”

Another donor told Politico, “He sort of looks at this like Cruz is doing it all for his own personal gain, and that’s juxtaposed against a family that’s been all about public service and doing it for the right reasons. He's frustrated to have watched Cruz basically hijack the Republican Party of Texas and the Republican Party in Washington."

Cruz has criticized Bush's record as president, but his stint on Bush's 2000 presidential campaign figures prominently in the candidate's political biography.

Cruz gave a statement to Politico that simultaneously called on those happier associations while pushing back against Bush's assertions. “I have great respect for George W. Bush, and was proud to work on his 2000 campaign and in his administration," Cruz told Politico. "It's no surprise that President Bush is supporting his brother and attacking the candidates he believes pose a threat to his campaign. I have no intention of reciprocating. I met my wife Heidi working on his campaign, and so I will always be grateful to him."

Trib Must Reads

Panetti Case Highlights Cracks in Texas Execution Law, by Johnathan Silver – In late September, Texas' efforts to execute Scott Panetti passed the 20-year mark. Whether the state will ultimately be allowed to put him to death remains unknown. The unusually complex and protracted path Panetti's case has travelled illustrates how few safeguards Texas has to protect mentally ill killers from being executed.

With Few Alumni, A&M-Central Texas Looks to the Past, by Matthew Watkins – Successful universities rely heavily on their alumni — for donations, for networking, for mentoring. But what if you don't have many graduates to hit up? That's a question Texas A&M University-Central Texas isn't waiting to answer.

Clinton-Castro? Many Democrats Like the Ring of It, by Patrick Svitek – Long-simmering speculation about U.S. housing secretary Julián Castro's Democratic vice presidential prospects is reaching a boil with his endorsement last week of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

U.S. Rep. Veasey Keeps His Fingers Crossed, by Abby Livingston — Sophomore U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, appears on track to coast to a third term representing his hybrid Dallas-Fort Worth seat in Congress. "Appears," being the operative word.

UIL Punts to Superintendents on Gender Policy, by Kiah Collier – The governing body for Texas high school sports decided Monday to ask superintendents to determine whether to formalize a policy that uses student-athletes' birth certificates to determine their gender.  

Carson Asks for Protection, Says He Doesn't Need It, by Jordan Ruder – Citing his faith in God, Ben Carson said Monday that he doesn't really need U.S. Secret Service protection as he campaigns for president. That was news to the Secret Service, which says Carson approached them about setting up coverage.

Harris County to Paxton: We're Still Suing Volkswagen, by Jim Malewitz – Harris County has politely declined Attorney General Ken Paxton’s request to drop its lawsuit against Volkswagen over the carmaker's use of software that allowed its diesel vehicles to skirt emissions limits.

Texas Kicks Planned Parenthood Out of Medicaid Program, by Edgar Walters and Alexa Ura – Texas health officials say they are kicking Planned Parenthood out of the state Medicaid program entirely over what they called "acts of misconduct" revealed in undercover videos filmed earlier this year.     

The Day Ahead

•    Early voting for the Nov. 3 constitutional amendment election began Monday. Gov. Greg Abbott speaks today in favor of Proposition 7, which would provide new road funding for the state, at a 3:30 p.m. appearance at Holt Cat in San Antonio.

•    Houston mayoral candidate Bill King will make a "major campaign announcement" Tuesday morning at Masraff's Restaurant in Houston. State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, is expected to attend.

Elsewhere

Is campus carry headed to court?Houston Chronicle

Oil Collapse Leaves Colleges Worried as Big Donors Backpedal, The Associated Press

Texas 2015 Election: Voters have a chance to mess with the Texas Constitution. Here's how., The Dallas Morning News

Bush: Future job openings will be advertised, Houston Chronicle

Gender inequality still plagues women despite decades of advancesFort Worth Star-Telegram

State shuffles other sources for road work as gas tax stays flatHouston Chronicle

Cigarroa resumes liver transplant program in S.A.San Antonio Express-News

No meeting with Obama for Ahmed Mohamed, clockmaker, during White House visit to boost tolerance and technology, The Dallas Morning News

We are now on our 12th timeline for a Biden announcement, The Washington Post

Cruz's clout wanes in the House, The Hill

Abbott: Vote to save your time and moneyAustin American-Statesman

Quote to Note

"I don’t feel the need for it, quite frankly, but the Secret Service thinks that I need it. I recognize that someone like me, who is very truthful and who really doesn’t subscribe to all the traditional power structures, is probably going to be a target, and I do understand that — but I also think that there’s a God."

  Presidential candidate Ben Carson on the U.S. Secret Service protection he will have during the remainder of his campaign during a book signing in Austin on Monday. The Department of Homeland Security said Carson requested the detail. 

Today in TribTalk 

The Fallacy of the Separation of Church and State, by Bryan Hughes –  One of the most abused phrases in American history comes from Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association from January 1802. In his letter, Jefferson uses the phrase "separation between church and state." Sadly, those who would remove religion completely from the public square have hijacked Jefferson's phrase, to the point that many believe those five words are found in the Constitution.  

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation with Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht on Oct. 29 in Austin

•    A daylong higher education symposium on Nov. 16 at Baylor University in Waco

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