President Obama

Texas leaders encourage Obama to follow state business model

Texas’ top Republican officials are weighing in this morning on President Obama’s visit to Central Texas. Their message: President Obama should take a hard look at the Texas economy and use it as a model for the rest of the nation.

President Obama is in Central Texas today to kick off his “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tour.” The president will deliver remarks at Manor New Tech High School and Applied Materials. There is also speculation that he will make another private stop in Downtown Austin.

In an op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman, Gov. Rick Perry took the opportunity to tout Texas’ economy and job creation and took some jabs at the president’s policies.

“The secret to our success is actually pretty simple, and I’ve shared the message around the country and around the world,” Perry said. “We keep our taxes low, our regulations reasonable and effective; we’ve implemented lawsuit abuse reforms and cultivated a world-class workforce. Are these decisions always easy? No, but like every American family, we make the tough choices and balance our budget. Hardworking taxpayers should expect no less than a limited and accountable government.”

Senators Ted Cruz and Attorney General Greg Abbott weigh in, after the jump.

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President Obama returning to Austin

It’s becoming almost an annual tradition: President Obama is returning to Austin. The White House says Obama will be in town Thursday for “events on the economy.” Officials have not released any other details.

This is the second time President Obama will be in Texas in less than a month. He attended the George W. Bush Presidential Center dedication on April 25th and then attended a memorial for the victims of the West Fertilizer Plant explosion.

President Obama is no stranger to the Capital City. He last visited Austin during the 2012 presidential campaign where he attended a sold-out fundraiser at The Austin Music Hall. He also made a swing through town in 2011 for a fundraiser at the Moody Theatre and a more exclusive private function at a West Lake home. And in 2010, President Obama delivered an education address at the University of Texas.

We’ll bring you more details of his visit as soon as we have them.

Capital Tonight: Boston blasts raise security concerns nationwide

Tragedy & National Security

As more details came to light about the Boston Marathon explosions Monday, politicians in DC and here in Texas made it clear that they would do whatever possible to find those responsible.

“We still do not know who did this or why, and people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this, we will find out why they did this,” President Barack Obama said at a press conference Monday afternoon.

While the president was careful not to refer to the explosions as an act of terrorism, Rep. Michael McCaul, who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, had no such reservations.

“I called this an act of terrorism the minute I saw it, based on the way it was perpetrated. It has all the hallmarks of the act of terrorism in terms of multiple, simultaneous casualties, spectacular events. So the Boston marathon, as runners are crossing the finish line, has all the hallmarks of an act of terrorism,” McCaul said. 


Texas Perspective

Rep. Allen Fletcher spoke to McCaul earlier in the day. He talked about that conversation and gave his perspective as vice-chairman of the Texas House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee. 


State Business Continues

Meanwhile, things elsewhere the Capitol continued as usual. Gov. Rick Perry chose tax day to unveil a tax-relief plan for Texas businesses.

Click the YNN logo below to hear more about that story, along with analysis from the Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg.


Full text of President Obama’s State of the Union Address

Here’s the full text of President Obama’s address, Tuesday:


As Prepared for Delivery –

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, fellow citizens:

Fifty-one years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this Chamber that “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress…It is my task,” he said, “to report the State of the Union – to improve it is the task of us all.”

Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report.  After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home.  After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over six million new jobs.  We buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in twenty.  Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before.

Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger.

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Capital Tonight: Smaller crowd expresses big hope for second Obama term

The Capital Tonight team headed to Washington, D.C. for Monday’s inauguration ceremonies. While the crowd was smaller than in 2009 (an estimated 700,000 people showed up this year, compared to 1.8 million for President Barack Obama’s first inauguration) there was no shortage of enthusiasm.

The president’s speech was also more compact than the first time around. Over the span of about 20 minutes, he touched on climate change, immigration reform, same-sex marriage and gun control.

He tied it all together by invoking the Declaration of Independence.

“That is our generation’s task — to make these words, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness — real for every American,” Obama said. “Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness.”

Click the image below to watch Monday’s full episode, including analysis from The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg on the future of Texas Democrats beyond the Obama adminstration.

Obama: “Now is the Time”

Here is President Obama’s full “plan to protect our children and our communities by reducing gun violence.”

Gov. Perry fires back at Obama gun proposals

Gov. Rick Perry is taking aim at President Obama’s $500 million dollar gun safety package. 

The plan, announced this morning, includes 23 executive actions and several legislative proposals. His executive orders, which do not require approval by Congress, include improved access to data for background checks and more mental health research to determine the causes of gun violence. 

In addition, the President is asking Congress to pass a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.  He is also calling for universal background checks for gun sales.

In an email statement, Gov. Perry accused the Obama administration of using the Newtown shootings to “advance a pre-existing political agenda.”  The full statement is below.

“The Vice President’s committee was appointed in response to the tragedy at Newtown, but very few of his recommendations have anything to do with what happened there.

Guns require a finger to pull the trigger. The sad young man who did that in Newtown was clearly haunted by demons and no gun law could have saved the children in Sandy Hook Elementary from his terror.

There is evil prowling in the world – it shows up in our movies, video games and online fascinations, and finds its way into vulnerable hearts and minds. As a free people, let us choose what kind of people we will be.  Laws, the only redoubt of secularism, will not suffice.  Let us all return to our places of worship and pray for help. Above all, let us pray for our children.

In fact, the piling on by the political left, and their cohorts in the media, to use the massacre of little children to advance a pre-existing political agenda that would not have saved those children, disgusts me, personally.  The second amendment to the Constitution is a basic right of free people and cannot be nor will it be abridged by the executive power of this or any other president.”

Year in Review: Texas politicians pursue White House ambitions

Texas was front and center during last year’s search for a GOP presidential candidate.  Both Governor Rick Perry and longtime Congressman Ron Paul threw their hats into the ring, and while neither won the nod, they each left their stamp on national politics.

The possibility of Rick Perry for president came to a crushing halt at the beginning of 2012. After a series of debate mishaps, and poor performances in primaries and caucuses, Perry called it quits on the national scale.  “So I will leave the trail and return home to Texas, wind down my 2012 campaign, and I will do so with pride, knowing I gave fully of myself of a cause worthy of this country,” Rick Perry said from South Carolina.

After taking some time to regroup, Perry was back on the campaign trail, this time helping his former rival Mitt Romney, and doing what he could to help Lt. Governor David Dewhurst win a Republican primary battle against Tea Party darling Ted Cruz.  Both Romney and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst lost their respective elections.

But for many fans of the Libertarian-leaning Dr. Ron Paul, 2012 still seemed like the year a Texan would once again lead the nation.

“There’s a big fight going on, and we’re involved in it,” Dr. Ron Paul said. “But everybody else, a bunch of them, are joining us and saying you’ve gone too far, the Ron Paul people were right about overstepping their bounds.”

Even as all the other Republican candidates began to bow out—leaving room for Romney to accept the party’s nomination—Congressman Ron Paul pressed on…

But in the end, it wasn’t Perry or Paul’s year—or Mitt Romney’s for that matter—to move into the White House.

With 2012 now in the history books, the speculation over whether a Texan, Rick Perry or otherwise, will take over in 2016 begins to grow.

Click here to watch our 2012: Year in Review edition of Capital Tonight.



Perry calls on Obama to release college transcripts

Governor Perry says all candidates should be transparent, but stopped short of calling on Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns, Tuesday.

His response to the question posed by a reporter at the State Capitol is a far cry from his stance during his time on the campaign trail. As a presidential candidate, Perry hounded Romney to be more transparent and urged him to release his returns. Romney did eventually disclose two years worth, which is fewer than previous candidates. Democrats are now calling on him to release more years.

During a media availability, Tuesday, Perry told the press "no matter who you are, or no matter what office you’re running for, you should be as transparent as you can be with your tax returns and other aspects of your life so people have the appropriate ability to judge your background."

He then turned the focus to the Obama campaign — and the president’s law school transcripts. Perry said "I certainly think that it is inappropriate for the president of the United States to not keep his college transcript and his law school transcripts public. He should make those all available. So I’m all about transparency."

Candidates don’t traditionally disclose their school records. Romney hasn’t released his transcripts, either.

Perry releases statement on Obama visit

Gov. Rick Perry released a statement ahead of President Obama’s visit to Texas, today. He criticized the administration’s handling of Texas’ voter ID law. Perry took exception to comments the US Attorney General made while addressing the NAACP in Houston, last week.

Eric Holder told members he would do everything possible to keep the law from taking effect; likening it to a "poll tax."

Gov. Perry issued this statement, today:

“Perhaps while the President is visiting Texas, he can take a break from big-dollar fundraisers to disavow his Attorney General’s offensive and incendiary comments regarding our common-sense voter identification law.

“In labeling the Texas voter ID law as a “poll tax,” Eric Holder purposefully used language designed to inflame passions and incite racial tension. It was not only inappropriate, but simply incorrect on its face.

“The president should apologize for Holder’s imprudent remarks and for his insulting lawsuit against the people of Texas.”

In March, the Department of Justice denied the state preclearance for the voter ID legislation, which was passed last session. Texas is one of several southern states that has to get approval for changing to voting laws, based on a history of discrimination.

The state sued, asking a federal district court to overturn the ruling. Testimony in that trial wrapped up last week, and a three judge panel in Washington D.C. will ultimately decide if the law should be implemented. That ruling is expected in August.