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The Brief: Nov. 11, 2015

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had several moments of note in Tuesday's GOP presidential debate but he'd probably like to forget one of them.

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson (L) listens as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at the Republican presidential candidates debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Nov. 10, 2015.

The Big Conversation

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had several moments of note in Tuesday's GOP presidential debate, but he'd probably like to forget one of them.

As the Tribune's Abby Livingston reported, Cruz misspoke when listing five agencies he'd like to eliminate, listing the Department of Commerce twice when he meant to mention the Department of Education. While it wasn't quite the "oops" moment that torpedoed Rick Perry in a debate almost exactly four years ago, it was close enough to spur some derisive reactions on social media.

Livingston wrote that Cruz's biggest substantive moment came when he said that he would take a different approach to a banking crisis than what the federal government did during the financial crisis in 2008.

"Senator, I really want to be really clear. Are you saying, sir, that if Bank of America were on the brink, you would let it go?" Fox Business News moderator Neil Cavuto asked. "Yes," Cruz answered.

Cruz chose also not to clash with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio who, along with Cruz, emerged from the previous debate with the most momentum. The lack of conflict there was in keeping with an evening that was longer on substance than the previous debate.

The New York Times' Jonathan Martin and Patrick Healy wrote that "policy details and disagreements, for the most part, replaced nasty potshots in the early going on Tuesday night, laying bare real fissures within the Republican Party on immigration, national security, trade and the meaning of being a conservative."

They also wrote that the biggest conflict of the night came over immigration.

"The splintering over immigration, in a campaign that has been dominated so far by the personas, speeches and backgrounds of the candidates, illuminated the brightest dividing line between Republican hopefuls like (Jeb) Bush and (John) Kasich, who favor a comprehensive immigration overhaul, and the many primary voters who have embraced (Donald) Trump’s harsh language about immigrants who are in the country illegally."

Cruz, for his part, argued against amnesty and pushed back against the media, arguing that it was "offensive" to suggest that Republicans are hostile to immigrants because they haven't backed comprehensive immigration reform.

Trib Must Reads

 Comparing Nondiscrimination Protections in Texas Cities, by Alexa Ura, Edgar Walters and Jolie McCullough – There are now 10 Texas cities with a population of more than 100,000 that have some rules or legislation in place to protect residents or city employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity. See how those protections compare.

Analysis: Abbott and the Challenge of Twisting Arms, by Ross Ramsey – One of a Texas governor's powers is a soft one — the power of persuasion. It's all Greg Abbott really has when he wants to rein in an agency like the Texas Lottery Commission. 

Ag Agency's Fee Hikes Plant Seeds of Discontent, by Jim Malewitz – Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller says he's prepared to "put on my rawhide underwear and take all the chewings" as the agriculture community protests a wide range of rate hikes at his agency.

Texas Rail Prospects Tempt French, Chinese, Japanese, by Aman Batheja – A Japanese-backed effort to build a Dallas-Houston bullet train may just be the start of an international rail play in Texas as companies from other countries vie for a piece of potential rail projects in the state. 

Amid Allegations Over Grade Changes, Texas Tech Dean Resigns, by Matthew Watkins – The dean of the Texas Tech University business college has resigned after a school panel found that he improperly changed the grades of four MBA students against their professors' wishes.  

Cornyn: Move Forward on Pick for Ambassador to Mexico, by Julián Aguilar – U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said on Tuesday that confirming Roberta Jacobson as the next ambassador to Mexico is too important to be held up by the Senate.  

Report: Veteran Mental Health Ignored in Capital Cases, by Johnathan Silver Veterans sentenced to death in Texas murder cases — and nationwide — might have escaped the punishment if juries had been told about their military service and any ensuing mental health problems, says a report released Tuesday.

Feds to Ask High Court to Consider Immigration Program, by Julián Aguilar – The Obama administration said Tuesday that it would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider a controversial immigration program the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down on Monday.

The Day Ahead

•    There are several Veterans Day events happing across the state. Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush will be in Abilene for a 9 a.m. meet and greet. At 11 a.m. in Austin, Gov. Greg Abbott will speak on the south steps of the Capitol, following the Veterans Day parade up Congress Avenue. And at 3 p.m., Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is set to speak in Tyler.


Obama administration to appeal immigration injunction to Supreme Court, San Antonio Express-News

Ken Paxton’s prosecutors defend themselves, Austin American-Statesman

Sign of progress in fight between legislators and Texas Racing Commission, The Dallas Morning News

Acevedo confirms Houston man is person of interest in Kocurek shooting, Austin American-Statesman

Why the future of Austin’s F1 race is in doubt, Austin American-Statesman

University of Texas professors: Ban guns or we could sue, Houston Chronicle 

UH med school might not be best option, Texas higher ed officials says, Houston Chronicle 

87% of Texas schools met standards, while some charters that didn’t risk closure, The Dallas Morning News

Grand jury indicts 106 bikers in Waco shootout with police, The Associated Press 

Texas mortgage settlement millions misspent, critics say, WFAA-TV

Quote to Note

 “I’ll put on my rawhide underwear and take all the chewings." 

– Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, saying he is prepared to face criticism for a string of fee hikes from his agency on things like licenses, registrations and services poised to start Dec. 1. 

Today in TribTalk

How Texas can get more time on EPA rules, by Josiah Neely – There is a way for Texas to buy more time to respond properly to the Clean Power Plan without risking its independence or its economy.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A discussion about Public Education: The Next Five Years on Nov. 13 at the University of Texas at El Paso

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

•    A conversation about Houston & the Legislature: What's Next? on Dec. 15 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston 

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