Texas

By any conventional standard, Rick Perry’s presidential candidacy should be a bad memory by now. From roughly mid-September to mid-October, he had about as bad a month as a candidate could have. He was consistently hesitant, defensive, and inarticulate in a series of high-profile candidate debates. But more importantly, he gave deep offense to conservatives by continuing to support a Texas program providing in-state college tuition rates for the children of illegal immigrants.

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When I was in Austin last month reporting on the rise of Rick Perry, Texas political insiders again and again would praise Perry's political team for its cohesion and stability -- a close-knit group of associates and advisers he'd accumulated over the years, each of which knew his or her role and strengths and weaknesses, and each of which ultimately deferred to the unquestioned leader, Dave Carney, Perry's acerbic chief strategist. There was just one caveat I kept hearing: it would not necessarily be an easy transition for this team to move onto the national stage.

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Reader quiz! Guess which pundit just said the following: There are moral, public health and economic reasons not to have the sick and injured go untreated. Hint: It's not Paul Krugman or Keith Olbermann. The answer is...  Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s conservative blogger.* Just to be clear about the context, she wasn’t trying to make the point that Krugman or Olbermann (or I) would with a statement like that. In other words, this wasn't part of an argument for universal health insurance.

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What's for lunch today? Once again, nothing at all if you're one of 23,000 inmates in the Texas state prisons, which have decided to eliminate weekend lunch in order to save $2.8 million this year.

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What's for lunch today? In many Texas prisons, nothing. The Times had a remarkable story tucked inside Friday's paper noting that Rick Perry's administration has decided to stop serving lunch on Saturdays and Sundays in order to help deal with the state's budget troubles. Not serving lunch to 23,000 inmates is the better part of $2.8 million in prison-system savings being sought this year.

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Austin, Texas—Rick Perry has a problem. No, it’s not the name of his hunting lease. It’s not his wobbly performances in the debates. It’s not even where he stands on the issues. Indeed, as the longest-serving governor of the nation’s second-most populous state, Rick Perry is perfectly qualified to run for president. Instead, the Texas governor’s big problem is that his state, contrary to the pitch he’s giving crowds nationally, is in trouble, big trouble.

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Glancing over the invitations to briefings and rallies from organizations with names like the Iranian-American Community of Kansas, and the Iranian-American Community of North Texas—which include broad references to the "Iranian opposition" and looming "humanitarian catastrophes"—it's fair to assume that these organizations represent a broad set of issues that face Iranians living here in the United States and back in their native country. However, attending these events reveals that all of these groups have one primary, and rather narrow, aim: removing an organization known as the as the Muj

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Last Friday, Rick Santorum raised eyebrows with remarks at the Values Voter summit urging voters to look more closely at who the candidates "lay down with at night." And yes, he meant that quite literally: “When you look at someone to determine whether they’d be the right person for public office, look at who they lay down with at night and what they believe in. Who is the person at their side who has... the closest counselor to that person?

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Earlier today, I found myself chatting with a state senator from New Hampshire, Jack Barnes. He is a classic Granite State curmudgeon -- 80 years old, outspoken and conservative. But he is supporting the Massachusetts moderate, Mitt Romney. I asked him why he's not for, say, Rick Perry. Barnes didn't hesitate. "His stuff going on down there with illegal immigrant scholarships," he said. "That's absurd, horrible. I don't think he deserves even one shot at it based on that stuff. It's nuts.

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Thanks to all for the smart responses to my query yesterday asking why it is that Rick Perry's maladroit debate performances are being judged to be so much more devastating to his prospects than were George W. Bush's back in 1999. My colleague Noam Scheiber, who will be soon be gracing the Stump on a regular basis, offered another theory that elaborates on one of my suggestions, that Perry suffers from a class bias, or as I put it: "Bush and his loyalists shrugged off his shaky debates with the cockiness of the prep-school slacker shrugging off a bad grade.

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