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The Brief: Patrick Confronts Obama at Town Hall on Race

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggested that the president could do more to express his support for law enforcement during a contentious back-and-forth at a televised town hall on race relations on Thursday.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a memorial service following the multiple police shootings in Dallas on July 12, 2016.

The Big Conversation

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and President Barack Obama engaged in a contentious back-and-forth at a televised town hall on race relations on Thursday, when Patrick suggested that the president could do more to express his support for law enforcement in the wake of the mass shooting in Dallas.

As the Tribune’s Patrick Svitek writes, during the discussion hosted by ABC, Patrick told Obama that his “words matter” when he responds to incidents of violence involving the police and asked that he “consider being careful when there is an incident not being too quick to condemn the police without due process until the facts are known.”

The attack in Dallas last week, which left five police officers dead, came at the end of an otherwise peaceful protest in response to the recent shootings of two black men who died at the hands of police in Louisiana and Minnesota. Patrick made headlines when he called the Dallas protesters “hypocrites” for expecting law enforcement to protect them and blamed the Black Lives Matter movement for inciting violence.

In response to Patrick’s question at the discussion on Thursday, Obama countered that he had “been unequivocal in condemning any rhetoric directed at police officers” and offered to send Patrick examples of him expressing the sentiment “in case you missed it.”

The exchange lasted about nine minutes, during which Obama also “went on note that data shows there are disparities in how police treated people of different races, and that pointing out those disparities should not be viewed as anti-police,” Svitek writes.

Patrick’s office released a statement Thursday night claiming that what was broadcast was a “highly edited version” of the town hall discussion, which had been taped earlier in the day.

In Texas Thursday night, the Austin Police Department organized a vigil at the state Capitol to honor the slain Dallas officers. More than 100 people attended, the Tribune’s Aneri Pattani writes.

Trib Must Reads

Student STAAR Performance Improves, With Caveat, by Kiah Collier — Elementary and middle school students appear to be performing better on required state exams after four years of stagnant scores. But the improvement is compared to old passing standards that no longer apply.

Trump Selects Michael McCaul to Speak at GOP Convention, by Abby Livingston — Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday announced U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul of Austin would be among the featured speakers at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland later this month.

Texas Gets Boost in New Mexico Water Fight, by Jim Malewitz — Three years after Texas filed a complaint in the U.S. Supreme Court alleging that New Mexican farmers were illegally curbing the Rio Grande's flow into Texas, the justices appear closer to taking up the challenge.

Ag Commissioner Takes on Weighty Issue, by Terri Langford — Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is working on a roundup. Instead of cattle, he's eyeing wayward herds of retailers who may have neglected to register their scales with the state of Texas.

Analysis: A Friend With a Check is a Friend Indeed, by Ross Ramsey — If it's legal to give money to a state officeholder without violating Texas bribery laws — as is apparently the case with gifts reported by Attorney General Ken Paxton for use in his legal defense — what keeps rich folks from sprinkling money on their favorite public officials?

Some Schools Rejecting Pared Down State Pre-K Grants, by Kiah Collier — More than 20 school districts have turned down state grant money to bolster their pre-kindergarten programs because the amount offered to them isn’t enough to cover required improvements.

Often-Deported Killer Sentenced to Life, by Julián Aguilar — A Webb County jury on Thursday sentenced a four-time deported Mexican man to life in prison for the July 2015 murder of his U.S. citizen wife, Angelica Martinez a mother of three.

Abbott Initiative Lures 10 Top Researchers to Texas, by Patrick Svitek — Ten renowned researchers are coming to Texas as a result of the inaugural grants under Gov. Greg Abbott's university research initiative, his office announced Thursday.


(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

Dan Patrick to succeed Greg Abbott as delegation chairman, but how?Austin American-Statesman

Quiet Cruz weighs role in Trump convention revolt, The Associated Press

Republican Rules Committee crushes bid to unbind delegates, stop Trump, The Associated Press

Industry groups splurge on conference travel in June for Texas officials and their spousesSan Antonio Express-News

Lawmakers to go on recess without addressing Zika, The Associated Press

Dallas police shooter killed 4 officers on the street, 1 through a second-floor window, The Dallas Morning News

Latinos applaud Castro at LULAC gathering, San Antonio Express-News

Baylor starts task of mending fences with recruits, Houston Chronicle

Senate passes Cornyn, Cruz resolution condemning Dallas police shooting, The Dallas Morning News

Mexican drug cartels give rise to Mexican fruit fly once eradicated in U.S., San Antonio Express-News

#DallasStrong gives new meaning to the city's BIG campaign, The Dallas Morning News

Federal judge rules against former council candidate’s claims of unfair redistricting, San Antonio Express-News

Harris County law enforcement turn out in force for slain Dallas officers, Houston Chronicle

Quote to Note

Our differences don’t dictate that we be divided. It’s time to throw away labels and hear each other.” 

 — State Sen. Kirk Watsonat a vigil at the state Capitol honoring the police officers killed in Dallas last week

Today in TribTalk

Congress must treat Zika as a women's health issue, by Sarah Nesbitt — Congressional Republicans are digging in their heels, refusing to promote commonsense funding for sexual health services in addition to research and development, all for the sake of political grandstanding.

News From Home

•    In this week's video Roundup: The fatal shootings of five Dallas police officers drew President Barack Obama to the Lone Star State this week to memorialize the fallen. Gov. Greg Abbott couldn’t attend Tuesday’s service because of severe burns suffered during a recent vacation.

•    In the last week, we've published several investigations into what happens when border watchdogs turn criminal — from smuggling drugs and immigrants to getting mixed up with Mexican cartels. Revisit our Bordering on Insecurity project.

•    Some pundits are convinced a purple Texas is around the corner due to the state's burgeoning Latino population. Yet Texas gets redder and redder. Visit Pasadena, Texas, where Oscar Del Toro is registering potential voters as he plans his own city council race, in this installment of Postcards From The Great Divide, a series of short films about politics in nine states.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   Life on the Border: Rhetoric or Reality? on Aug. 4 at The Centennial Club in McAllen

•   The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin

•   TribFeast: A Dinner To Support Nonprofit Journalism on Sept. 24 at the University of Texas at Austin's Etter-Harbin Alumni Center

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