Archive for December, 2011

Anita Perry pushes ‘American story’ in new campaign ad

A new Perry campaign ad stars Texas First Lady Anita Perry. In the "American Story" ad, Mrs. Perry tells the story about meeting her husband in elementary school in Paint Creek.

"We grew up in small towns, raised with Christian values, values we still believe in," Perry says in the ad. "And we know Washington, D.C., could use some of that."

The 30 second ad is airing nationally on cable and statewide in Iowa.

You can watch the entire spot below.

Paul leads Iowa poll with 2 weeks to go


Ron Paul is leading in Iowa, with a little more than two weeks to go before the caucuses happen there. A Public Policy Polling survey shows Paul with a narrow lead on Mitt Romney, 23 percent to 20 percent.

Newt Gingrich’s frontrunner status is fading, especially in Iowa. In the PPP poll, Gingrich has only 14 percent support in the state. Governor Rick Perry is struggling despite his statewide bus tour. Perry is tied with Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann at 10 percent.

The same poll asked caucus goers if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Ron Paul. Fifty-four percent had a favorable opinion. The results were basically split for Perry. Forty-eight percent have a favorable opinion of him, compared with 40 percent unfavorable.

Paul came in second in the Ames Iowa Straw Poll in August and has a major grassroots effort in place there. Many say organization of supporters is key to winning Iowa.

The poll surveyed 597 likely Republican caucus goers over the weekend.

Perry double-dips, state salary and pension

A look into Rick Perry’s finances shows the Texas Governor is a double-dipper, collecting a salary and retirement benefits simultaneously.

A personal financial disclosure form that presidential candidates are required to file shows that Perry is collecting his $7,700 monthly state pension, in addition to his governor’s salary of about $133,000 per year. That is allowable under state law, using a complicated formula.

According to Quorum Report’s Harvey Kronberg the state uses a formula to calculate retirement pay, but only a very limited number of people can take advantage of a scenario like this.

"I think when it is all said and done, it makes the governor look awfully hypocritical to be attacking social security as a Ponzie scheme while having a governor’s salary and a government pension," Kronberg said.

But while the move may look hypocritical, Kronberg said this scandal won’t rate high in comparison to other distractions this primary season.

"When you are looking at the massive wealth of a Mitt Romney or a Newt Gingrich taking money from Fannie or Freddie for giving advice, the order of magnitude is small,” Kronberg said. “But it does take him off of his story line of a values oriented presidency."

The GOP candidate addressed the issue while on the road in Iowa.

"I bought my military time and then obviously the 25 years of public service so as you reach that age to become eligible for it so I don’t find that to be out of the ordinary," Perry said.

It’s a move that may not be out of the ordinary, but is sure to draw controversy just before the start of primary elections.

Governor Perry reports a net worth of $1.3 million and an annual income of $290,000.

The Associate Press contributed to this report.

Why Perry had to put Tim Tebow in

Courtesy ESPN

Like the 231,000 Google results that populate when you search his name, Tim Tebow’s list of titles and accomplishments seems never-ending: a beloved Gator football alum leading the University of Florida to two NCAA championships in 2006 and 2008; first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy (2006); drafted to the Denver Broncos in 2010; labeled an ‘overrated’ quarterback, until recently; and, as the son of a preacher, he’s a player who’s not afraid to strike a prayerful stance on the field for millions of people across the country to see.

Many of those viewers are conservatives and that’s perhaps why Rick Perry attempted to compare his struggling run for the White House to that of Tebow’s career during Thursday night’s debate in Sioux City, Iowa.

When the moderators asked the Texas Governor if he was ready for the next level, Perry responded saying, "There were folks who said Tim Tebow wasn’t going to be a very good NFL quarterback. There were people who stood up and said he didn’t have the right throwing mechanisms or he’s not playing the game right. And you know, he won two national championships and that looked pretty good."


Perry went on to say, "We were the national champions in job creation back in Texas. So am I ready for the next level? Let me tell you, I am the Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses."

As soon as he uttered Tebow’s name, my head began to lower and shake slightly side to side without me even realizing. I quietly asked myself, ‘why.’ Then just as quickly answered my own question.

Everyone is cashing in on the Tebow brand right now. He’s the symbol of purity, popularity and good looks.

I mean, just in time for Christmas, Fathead -a wall graphics company- evidently started selling a graphic of Tebow praying or "Tebowing." It became a top 10 seller along with two other Tebow-related graphics of theirs.

Bonfire Brewing in Eagle, Colorado just debuted its new barley wine,

This Sunday Bonfire Brewing out of Colorado launched its barley wine "Tebrew." The high-alcohol type beer has a logo that features a man crouching as if in prayer, holding up a mug of beer with the tag line, "The Sunday Sipper."

Even Saturday Night Live had a skit this weekend mocking Tebow’s openness to pray when, during the parody, the Broncos get a visit from Jesus.

So I guess it shouldn’t have really come as any surprise that Rick Perry would try to capitalize on Tebow’s popularity, in an attempt to try to boost his own.

Redistricting blog breaking news and clarifying jargon

For those who follow the legal fight over Texas redistricting maps, Michael Li’s "TXRedistricting" blog is a favorite. Li is constantly posting legal documents, maps and tweeting in court, keeping his readers up to date on the latest.

Paul Brown sat down with Li to discuss where the maps stand now and got his reaction to the new April 3 primary. You can watch the video below.

You can find more of Michael Li’s writing on his blog

Court signs off on new primary date

Update: Court signs off on primary date change

The Texas primary will be held on April 3rd, third this year, leaving Texas out of the March 6 Super Tuesday. State Democrats and Republicans submitted the proposal to buy time while redistricting maps are worked out. The court signed off on it, Friday afternoon.

You can read the final order, here:

Here’s the original story:

The Texas Democratic and Republican parties have struck a deal to move the primary back a month, to April 3. The move is in response to lingering uncertainty over state redistricting maps.

As it stands now, the Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay on interim maps drawn by a panel of judges in San Antonio last month. That stay was granted at the request of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who argued the San Antonio court overstepped its bounds by redrawing the original maps drawn by the legislature, this session.

Candidates planning to run for state House and Senate and US House seats still don’t know in which district they’d be running. For that reason, earlier this week, the court agreed to waive residency restrictions and to extend the filing date to Monday, Dec. 19. They had delayed a decision on a proposal to hold two primaries; one for President and Senate and one for elections that relied on districts. The proposal submitted today would avoid a split primary. If approved by the court, it would move the state primary from March 6, which is Super Tuesday, to April 3.

Texas Democratic Chairman Boyd Richie issued this statement:

“We’re glad to have worked out an agreement which we feel works best for Texans. Given the less than ideal circumstances, we think that this election schedule is a workable solution that will create the least confusion for the voters. We’re pleased that the agreement maintains a unified primary which will save taxpayers money.”

And Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri said:

"I am pleased that we could come to an agreement and I hope that most Republican elected officials and Texas voters will be satisfied with this proposal. We are hopeful that with both a timely ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court and subsequent finalized maps, that this agreement not only preserves the original structure of a unified primary, but provides us enough time to accomplish it in a fair and orderly fashion. Furthermore, this agreement addresses the concern of both the TDP and RPT by providing a time line which still allows us to hold our respective state conventions and national delegate selection in June."

Here is the proposal filed by the TDP and RPT

South Carolina’s governor endorses Romney

While Rick Perry makes his way through Iowa, Mitt Romney knows he’s set himself up well in the state of the first-in-the-south primary with the long-sought after support of Governor Nikki Haley.

We were there, in Charleston, S.C. back in August as Texas Governor Rick Perry made it official, joining the group running for the GOP presidential nomination.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was also at the Annual Convention as Perry spoke to the group of conservative bloggers about his record on jobs creation.

The two met outside of that convention and again in October, when Perry went back to South Carolina, to announce his jobs plan.

We were there for that stop in Gray Court and one later that same day in Columbia when State House Speaker Bobby Harrell endorsed Perry.

There was word circulating at the Capitol that Haley planned to also throw her support behind the governor whose popularity, at that point, had fledged after a few poor debate performances.

Haley is a rising star in the GOP — hugely popular amongst southern conservatives and the Tea Party – making her a key endorsement for any of the candidates to secure.

Perry’s fruitless attempt of courting Gov. Haley comes as a blow to his campaign, but it’s not their focus, at least not right now. Hundreds of supporters are blanketing Iowa in hopes of drumming up enough support for Perry to place in the top tier of the January 3 caucus.

South Carolina primary voters cast their ballots January 21.

In final debate, spotlight finally falls on Paul

In the final GOP presidential debate before the Iowa Caucuses, Ron Paul’s strong poll numbers meant more talk time and more attacks from his challengers. Paul continued his attacks on front-runner Newt Gingrich for his involvement with Freddie Mac. In recent ads, Paul has accused Gingrich of "selling access" for the government sponsored enterprise. Gingrich has maintained he was a private citizen and was working as he would at any other business. Paul said Gingrich received tax payer money.

"To go and work for them and get money from them it literally is coming from the taxpayer," Paul said. "They went broke, we had to bail them out so indirectly that was money that he ended up getting. They’re still getting money from us. Government supported enterprise…it’s not a free market enterprise."

Paul also got big applause on the subject of Iran. When asked about the possibility of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons, Paul said there is no evidence stating that possibility is near.

"You know what I really fear about what’s happening here? It’s another Iraq coming. There’s war propaganda going on and we’re arguing," Paul said. "To me, the greatest danger is we will have a president who overreacts and we will soon bomb Iran and the sentiment is very mixed."

Michele Bachmann went toe-to-toe with Paul on Iran. Bachmann said Iran will take a nuclear weapon and will try to use it against Israel. To that, Paul responded that he does not want Iran to have a nuclear weapon and wants to reduce those types of weapons so there will be less war.

Capital Roundup Extra: Sen. Cornyn talks Voter ID, budget gridlock

Paul Brown spoke with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Thursday about why he disagrees with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent speech on the recently passed Voter ID law.

He also discussed why there is gridlock over the Balanced Budget Amendment and where he sees the future of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

You can watch the extended interview in the video below.

Doggett campaigning in two districts amid redistricting uncertainty

A federal court in San Antonio approved an agreement today extending the filing period for the 2012 election. Since candidates have no way of knowing which district in which they will be running, the court also signed an order residency restrictions. Democrats and Republicans came to that agreement Tuesday, as part of the ongoing legal battle surrounding redistricting maps.

Candidates who file now will have the option to switch their district, or to withdraw their application once the final maps are released. Questions over where candidates will run and who they will face abound, and it is posing a challenge to candidates like Congressman Lloyd Doggett.

The original maps drawn by the Texas legislature pitted Doggett against State Rep. Joaquin Castro in a democratic primary. The interim maps released by a San Antonio federal court separated the two candidates into their own districts. With the latest developments, however, Doggett said Tuesday he will focus his time in both his current district and the interim district.

Doggett said "I don’t know where the lines will be, and that’s not only a personal impact, on me, but it’s an impact on citizens throughout our area, not knowing where there member of Congress might be located."

Doggett also told our Washington D.C. Bureau that he is concerned that a split primary would affect voter turnout and would be a financial burden to the counties.

Watch the video below to hear more about Doggett’s views on redistricting, as well as his take on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech at the LBJ Library last night.

We did reach out to Republican Congressman Michael McCaul for his reaction to the latest developments. He declined to comment.