Archive for April, 2012

Perry vows to explore legal options in Planned Parenthood case

Gov. Rick Perry is responding to a federal court’s decision to grant Planned Parenthood a

Dems react to Planned Parenthood ruling

UPDATE: Adds reaction from several more Texas lawmakers

A federal judge has issued an injunction, stopping the state from pulling funding from Planned Parenthood. Money to Planned Parenthood would have been phased out, starting tomorrow.

The ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood. It challenges a law passed last legislative session, banning organizations affiliated with abortion providers from receiving state funding. Judge Lee Yeakel ruled today that there is ‘sufficient evidence’ that the law is unconstitutional.

Texas Democratic Party spokesperson Rebecca Acuña released this statement:

“Rick Perry can’t tell women where they can and cannot go to for health care. Perry had already been warned that limiting health care providers for women was illegal and that it would endanger the health of women, he just didn’t’t care. It’s high time that Rick Perry drop the political charade and end his assault on women’s health. Sadly, Rick Perry seems more concerned with eliminating Planned Parenthood than with the health of Texas women. It’s beyond reprehensible that Texas Republicans would rather end the Women’s Health Program altogether than repeal their illegal policy. Republicans continue to treat women as acceptable collateral damage in their quest to earn points with extremists.”

Rep. Garnet Coleman of Houston released this statement:

"I am pleased with Judge Yeakel’s decision to halt the enforcement of law that strips Texas women of the right to choose their own health provider. Hindering provider choice is not only wrong, it violates federal law. Unfortunately, Governor Perry has given marching orders to continue pushing for a policy that demeans women and restricts their access to health care.

This temporary injunction provides an opportunity to continue working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to find alternative ways to provide health services to low-income women. Two weeks ago, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and I met with Cindy Mann, Director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations, to discuss options that will keep low-income women in Texas from losing the crucial health services currently provided by the Women’s Health Program."

Houston Rep. Jessica Farrar provided this statement:

"I commend Judge Yeakel in granting the injunction to prevent Texas from excluding Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program. The Republican leadership chose to eliminate the Women’s Health Program instead of honoring a woman’s right to choose their health care provider. It is unconstitutional to prevent a woman from choosing their health care provider."

Despite today’s ruling, Planned Parenthood could still lose funding. State officials have said they’ll shut down the Women’s Health Program, if they were forced to include abortion provider affiliates.

We have reached out to Governor Perry’s office, and are expecting their response this evening. Attorney General Greg Abbott says he won’t respond until he had a chance to review the ruling.

Santorum to speak at State GOP Convention

Former Presidential candidate Rick Santorum will be at the Texas G-O-P convention this June. He’s slated to speak at the Gala Banquet on Friday, June 8.

Santorum has a lot of supporters here in the Lone Star State. Before dropping out of the race, he was leading Governor Mitt Romney in the polls by more than 10 points.

In a statement today, Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri said

"I am very pleased that we have been able to confirm Senator Santorum’s appearance at our Convention Gala. His campaign was very active in Texas during the primary season and I am excited to offer our convention attendees the opportunity to hear from a major national figure in our Party."

Tickets to the convention gala cost 200-dollars.

Cruz responds to Dewhurst attack ads, calls Lt. Gov. scared

Ted Cruz responded Friday to an attack ad from the Dewhurst For Texas campaign which says Cruz defended a Chinese company in a lawsuit against an American manufacturer.

"As most of y’all are aware in the last two weeks, David Dewhurst has spent $2 million running saturation attack ads against me on the issue of China. You can’t turn on your television set without hearing that I’m a quote ‘red Chinese communist," Cruz said at a Tea Party U.S. Senate forum Friday. "Why is he doing this? Because he’s scared, and he’s scared because conservatives have united behind this campaign."

You can hear from Cruz for yourself below.

Paul draws huge crowd to UT

Despite Mitt Romney’s all but certain nomination as the Republican Presidential nominee, Congressman Ron Paul’s supporters are as fervent as ever. According to the Paul campaign, today’s town hall meeting at the University of Texas drew more than 6,000 supporters.

Capital Tonight’s Paul Brown spoke one-on-one with Rep. Paul prior to the town hall. Paul acknowledged he would likely not be the nominee, but maintained he was in the race for the long haul; all the way to the GOP convention in Tampa. You can watch that interview, here. YNN’s Sebastian Robertson also spoke with some of Paul’s supporters. That story is here.

Rep. Paul will round out his three city Texas tour with a stop at the University of Houston, tomorrow. He held a town hall at UT El Paso, yesterday.

Perry formally endorses Romney

Gov. Perry formally endorsed Mitt Romney Thursday, a day after news broke that Newt Gingrich would be dropping out of the race next week. Perry endorsed Gingrich when he withdrew from the race in January.

Perry said Romney "earned his status" as the likely GOP nominee, "through hard work, a strong organization and disciplined message." There was no mention of whether or not Perry would be campaigning for Romney.

"Mitt Romney has earned the Republican Presidential nomination through hard-work, a strong organization, and disciplined message of restoring America after nearly four years of failed job-killing policies from President Obama and his administration," said Governor Perry. "So today I join the many conservative Republicans across the nation in endorsing Mitt Romney for President and pledge to him, my constituents and the Republican Party that I will continue to work hard to help defeat President Obama. American jobs, economic stability and national security depend on electing a new president. Mitt ‘s vision and record of private sector success will put America back on the path of job creation, economic opportunity and limited government."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tonight on Capital Tonight: Ron Paul one-on-one and the US Senate race

It’s a busy week in politics! To fit it all in this evening, we will have two editions of Capital Tonight.

Presidential Primary

Presidential candidate Ron Paul is in Austin tonight for a town hall meeting. During our 6 p.m. show, YNN’s Sebastian Robertson will be live with Paul supporters from the University of Texas. This is Paul’s second stop in a three city swing through the Lone Star State. The Congressman is also attending a private fundraising lunch here in Austin.

Before the town hall, Capital Tonight’s Paul Brown will have a one-on-one sit down interview with Paul. We will talk to him about the status of his presidential run, his thoughts on Mitt Romney and the reasons he is still in the race. That entire interview will air during our special Capital Tonight encore at 10 p.m.

Senate Race

With no real presidential primary competition here in Texas, the Senate race is taking center stage. Tonight, Capital Tonight’s Karina Kling explores the influx of television ads and the negative tactics some candidates are taking.

Meanwhile, Senate candidate and former ESPN analyst Craig James will be in our studio for an interview. He talks to our Paul Brown about the state of his campaign, the amount of money being spent on television ads and why he’s chosen to stay out of the mudslinging.

Capital Commentators

As always, our Capital Commentators will join us in the studio to offer their insight. Tonight, we’ll be talking about Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to endorse Mitt Romney, the demise of Newt Gingrich’s campaign and the likelihood of a runoff in the Senate race.

Cruz gets a boost from Tea Party voters in new poll

Ted Cruz is catching up to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a new Public Policy Polling survey out today, most of it thanks to the Tea Party. If the election were held today, 38 percent of voters say they would vote for Dewhurst for U.S. Senate, 26 percent say they would vote for Cruz, a former state solicitor general. Tom Leppert, a former Dallas mayor, receives 8 percent of the vote. Former ESPN sports analyst Craig James is right behind him with 7 percent.

Cruz is tied with Dewhurst at 35 percent when it comes to voters who identify themselves as Tea Party members. Those who say they are not part of the Tea Party back Dewhurst 41 percent to Cruz’s 20 percent.

The poll also puts each Republican candidate in head-to-head matchups with their potential Democratic opponents. All of the GOP hopefuls beat either Paul Sadler or Sean Hubbard in those scenarios.

Perry-Romney ticket would hurt Romney in Texas

A new poll shows Governor Rick Perry’s failed presidential run is hurting his approval rating here in Texas. More interestingly, it could also potentially hurt a fellow Republican.

The Public Policy Polling survey shows choosing Perry as his Vice President would actually hurt Mitt Romney’s chances of winning in Texas. According to the poll, choosing Perry as his running mate would reduce Romney’s lead over President Obama from 50-43 to 50-45.

Romney has said he hasn’t chosen a running mate yet. However pundits have not put Perry’s name at the top of the list of possibilities.

The poll also spells bad news for Congressman Ron Paul’s chances in his home state. It shows 37 percent of Lone Star Republicans gave Paul favorable rating of him; 48 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion.

The Public Policy Polling survey polled 591 voters between April 19th and 22nd, as well as 400 Republican primary voters.

US Attorney requesting Voter ID trial delay

The trial to hear arguments on Texas’ controversial Voter ID law could be delayed. The US Attorney General’s office says the state’s legal maneuvering is taking too long.

The law requiring all voters to show photo identification before voting passed last legislative session. Last week, the Department of Justice ruled that Texas lawmakers could be required to turn over their communications about the legislation, and may be forced to testify at trial.

Court documents show the state has filed repeated motions to keep lawmakers from having to hand over those documents, or appear in court. Attorney General Greg Abbot has argued that lawmakers shouldn’t have to reveal internal discussions.

We did reach out to Attorney General Greg Abbott for his reaction to the request for a delay, but have not heard back yet. The trial was initially scheduled to begin on July 9.

Meanwhile, the state is also challenging the part of the Voting Rights Act that requires Texas to get federal approval before making changes to election law. Attorney General Abbott wants Section 5 declared unconstitutional.

The Department of Justice denied the Voter ID law preclearance, saying it did not pass federal standards and could disenfranchise some minority voters. We are also still awaiting a redistricting preclearance decision from a federal district court in Washington, D.C.