Capital Tonight

Capital Tonight: Attack ads resurface in lieutenant governor’s race

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has broken his weeks-long campaign silence. In a new ad released Wednesday, the incumbent is bringing up his opponent’s financial past, suggesting Sen. Dan Patrick’s bankruptcy filing nearly 30 years ago is an indication of his suitability for lieutenant governor.

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we look at how the Patrick team is responding to the ad, and we hear why one former campaign consultant says the strategy could backfire.


A new poll puts Sen. Ted Cruz at the top of the heap when it comes to potential 2016 Republican primary candidates. Political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi joined us to evaluate what the numbers mean for Cruz, and for Gov. Rick Perry.


All this month, schools are measuring students with the STAAR test. But what about using it to evaluate teachers? We spoke to Jennifer Canaday of the Association of Texas Professional Educators, who says the idea could be disastrous.

Capital Tonight: Polling director defends results against Democratic group’s criticism

Legalizing gambling is an decades-old debate in Texas, and a new dustup over bingo hall regulations may be a sign that state lawmakers won’t be ready to make the leap anytime soon.

In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we explained the fight over a popular pull-tab game and why it could carry over into the next legislative session.


New poll numbers show Texas Democrats with double-digit deficits to overcome in order to win in 2014, but the results are drawing criticism from Lone Star Project, a political strategy group aligned with Democrats that’s claiming faulty methodology.

We sat down with Public Policy Polling director Tom Jensen to defend the results and go behind the numbers.



Gov. Rick Perry is popping up in the polls again, and the results are night-and-day compared to his 2012 campaign. Harvey Kronberg of the Quorum Report joined us to analyze his surge in popularity.

Capital Tonight: Political world reacts to Castro-Patrick debate on immigration

It started out as a Twitter spat, but on Tuesday night, Sen. Dan Patrick and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro finally met face-to-face for a debate over immigration reform and border security.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at highlights from the debate, plus we spoke to Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, whose attempts at immigration reform in Washington have drawn widespread attention.


What does our immigration system look like now? The co-director of UT Law School’s Immigration Clinic, Denise Gilman joined us to focus on the facts about conditions on the border, the reasons for illegal immigration and more.


One of the questions in Tuesday night’s debate centered around former state Rep. Aaron Peña, who’s accused both the Democratic Party of taking Hispanics for granted and the Republican Party of going too far with anti-immigrant rhetoric. We sat down with Peña and Democratic strategist Harold Cook to get their take on the debate, and to dig into some new poll numbers on statewide races.


The state’s driver responsibility program is getting a second look, after criticism that it unfairly targets low-income Texans. We heard what local judges think about a possible change.

Capital Tonight: Standout moments from the Civil Rights Summit

The legacy of President Lyndon Baines Johnson was honored this week, throughout a three-day summit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act being signed into law.

Four presidents and numerous civil rights icons, experts, authors and celebrities took part in telling the story of how far we’ve come thanks to Johnson’s efforts and how far we still have to go. In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we highlighted the standout moments from the summit and discussed what they mean for the politics of today.


From a committee report on UT Regent Wallace Hall to the latest fight in the governor’s race over pre-K education, there was plenty of other political news this week.

We sat down with Christy Hoppe, The Dallas Morning News‘ Austin bureau chief, Texas Tribune reporter Reeve Hamilton, and San Antonio Express-News Austin bureau chief and Houston Chronicle reporter Peggy Fikac to talk about the stories our viewers might have missed.


Plus, Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas and the Austin American-Statesman joined us to look into claims made by Congressman Michael McCaul and the Wendy Davis campaign this week.

Capital Tonight: Obama, Bush draw parallels between their accomplishments and LBJ’s

The country’s first black president was a featured speaker on the final day of the LBJ Civil Rights Summit. President Barack Obama gave the keynote address at the three-day event, commemorating the signing of the Civil Rights Act 50 years ago.

The President spoke candidly about President Lyndon Johnson’s struggles to create change in the country, and he drew several comparisons between his presidency and the legacy of LBJ.

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we heard how President Obama and former President George W. Bush view their time in office in light of LBJ’s accomplishments.


Segregation may be over, but the income gap between whites and nonwhites is still largely in place. We sat down with economist James Galbraith for a discussion on what income inequality looks like today and the steps lawmakers are taking to curb it.


Voting laws in Texas were on the minds of many this week. Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson joined us to give his take on that issue. And our political strategists, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, debated more of the political issues unique to Texas.

Capital Tonight: Civil rights leaders describe struggles and successes

On day two of the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Library, the discussion shifted toward the leaders of the movement, the role they played and how they see the world today.

In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we heard directly from two of those leaders — former Congressman and United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young and current Rep. John Lewis — about what they’ve accomplished and what they still hope to see done.


Of course, the fight for racial equality also took place in the world of athletics. We heard from Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown and Celtics legend Bill Russell about the barriers they broke while playing the game.


Apart from civil rights, this week’s summit is also about the legacy of Lyndon Baines Johnson. We spoke one-on-one with one granddaughter of LBJ, Catherine Robb, about how she hopes he’s remembered.


And the day’s political news didn’t stop during the summit. We spoke to Harvey Kronberg of the Quorum Report about a new report on UT Regent Wallace Hall and more.

Capital Tonight: Immigration, same-sex marriage drive first day of civil rights summit

It’s been 50 years since the Civil Rights Act became part of the fabric of America. This week, the LBJ Library is honoring Lyndon B. Johnson’s legacy in Austin with a three-day summit on the past, present and future of civil rights.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we took an in-depth look at how the law has rippled through history, plus we spoke to some of the lawmakers dealing with similar issues today.

Click the TWC News logo below to hear a recap of former President Jimmy Carter’s Q&A session, plus one-on-one interviews with San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour about immigration reform.


Former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes was one of many lawmakers who helped transition the state away from laws based on racial discrimination, all in the years during and after LBJ’s presidency. We sat down for an extended interview with Barnes about segregation, civil rights and his role in this week’s summit.


Same-sex marriage is seen by many as a key civil rights issue today. We heard from two lawyers from very different political backgrounds who came together over marriage equality.

Plus, we spoke to political strategists Harold Cook and Ted Delisi about the same-sex marriage debate and more.


Capital Tonight: Looking back at a complicated week in politics

After Wednesday’s shooting at Fort Hood, there’s been a renewed call for Congress and the Defense Department to end gun restrictions for service members on military installations. Some lawmakers, including Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, say the suspected shooter could have been stopped sooner if others on post had their weapons on them.

In Friday’s Capital Tonight, we looked back at how the original policy came about and why the Department of Defense is arguing against the change.


From the fight over pre-K plans to a major milestone for health care enrollment, the week brought a wide range of political news. We sat down with Robert Garrett of The Dallas Morning News, Alexa Ura of the Texas Tribune and the Quorum Report‘s Scott Braddock to sort out the stories that mattered.


Plus, Gardner Selby of PolitiFact Texas and the Austin American-Statesman joined us for a fascinating fact-check about a climate change musical and whether your tax dollars paid for it.

Capital Tonight: Sen. Cornyn reflects on Fort Hood shooting

Texans and military families across the country are still dealing with shock and sadness, after a shooting that left four people dead and 16 injured Wednesday.

In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we checked in on the latest from Fort Hood, and we heard how the Texas delegation in Washington is responding.


The rules for campaign finance are changing again, after the latest Supreme Court ruling. What effect will it have here in Texas? Election law attorney Ed Shack joined us to explain.



Before his trip to Fort Hood, Sen. John Cornyn was busy in Washington this week. He joined us for a one-on-one interview via satellite about the Supreme Court ruling, the Affordable Care Act and more.


Plus, we heard from Republican strategist Rob Johnson and Democratic strategist Harold Cook about a recent shift in Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s campaign.

Capital Tonight: Preschool education sparks fierce debate in governor’s race

After weeks of fighting about fair pay for women, the two candidates for governor are turning their focus to early childhood education. Republican Greg Abbott released his plan for pre-kindergarten Monday. A day later, teachers’ groups supportive of Democrat Wendy Davis were quick to attack his proposal.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we examined the argument behind Abbott’s proposal and heard why the Davis campaign is firing back.


Another layer to the education debate started brewing Tuesday night, after the Davis campaign cited a Huffington Post article linking Abbott’s pre-K plan to a controversial scholar named Charles Murray, whose views on race, gender and education have drawn criticism.

Our Capital Commentators, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, debated the significance of the Murray link in the governor’s race.


Texas officials are touting a quick response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but what about the long-term effects? We spoke to Luke Metzger of Environment Texas about his concerns.