Politics

Politics
2:52 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

Constitution's 'Supreme Being' Clause Targeted Again

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

In January, an atheist group will lobby the state Legislature to overturn an obscure clause in the Texas Constitution — one that says candidates for public office must believe in a higher power. The group is following in the litigious footsteps of the late Madalyn Murray O'Hair, who 30 years ago challenged the same provision as an attempt to establish a state religion.

In Article 1, Section 4, the Texas Constitution states: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.” 

In other words, the Constitution maintains freedom of religion, but appears to bar atheists from holding state office. 

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Immigration
8:42 am
Tue June 12, 2012

Obama's Deportation Policies Have Failed, Immigrant Advocates Say

Audience members listen to President Obama speak about immigration reform in El Paso, Texas, in May 2011. The Obama campaign is wooing Hispanics ahead of the November elections, but the president's deportation policy is being criticized by immigrant advocates.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 7:16 pm

Criticism of the Obama administration's deportation policies continues to pour in as previously supportive groups called the latest government effort a failure.

Immigrant advocates on Monday condemned the administration's recent findings that a policy designed to reduce the deportations of otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants has had almost no effect.

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Politics
4:37 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

With a Runoff, Dynamics Change in Senate Race

Bob Daemmrich for Texas Tribune

Even with nine candidates in the Republican primary to replace United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, just about everybody bet on Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to win outright.

Instead, he is in a runoff against Ted Cruz, the former state solicitor general, an energetic opponent who tapped into the anti-establishment vein in the Texas Republican Party. Dewhurst is still the front-runner, but he is no longer the inevitability presented throughout the spring.

And now the spotlight is brighter. Dewhurst and Cruz don’t have to compete for attention with a presidential race or contests in other states. National political reporters looking for things to cover are more likely than normal to be planning visits to the Texas barbecue trail. They — like the people they cover — are trying to connect the dots this election year, to figure out whether there is any theme or trend in the results.

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Politics
5:02 pm
Sat June 9, 2012

Texas Democrats Elect Their First Hispanic Chairman

June 9th, 2012: Newly elected Chair of the Texas Democratic Party Gilberto Hinojosa.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for Texas Tribune

Texas Democrats, trying to compete in a state that overwhelmingly favors Republican candidates for executive, legislative and judicial offices, elected their first Hispanic chairman Saturday.

In a reflection of the state’s burgeoning Hispanic growth and the party’s longtime success with Latinos, delegates overwhelmingly elected Gilberto Hinojosa as the next party chairman. He will replace outgoing chairman Boyd Richie, who announced in April 2011 that he would not seek another term after six years on the job.

Hinojosa successfully breathed some life into the sparse crowd on the convention floor with a fiery speech before the delegates cast an overwhelming majority of votes in his favor.

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Politics
4:59 pm
Sat June 9, 2012

After Afternoon With Cruz, Santorum Addresses Texas GOP

Rick Santorum tells stories from his failed presidential campaign June 8, 2012 at the Texas Republican Convention.
Bob Daemmrich for Texas Tribune

FORT WORTH — Rick Santorum wooed a friendly audience with tales of campaign misadventures while avoiding aggravating divisions among his fellow Republicans on Friday night when he addressed a room full of state party leaders at a Texas GOP gala fundraiser.  

The former Pennsylvania senator has endorsed Ted Cruz in his bid against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to become the state's next U.S. senator and replace Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, but Santorum made no mention of it during his speech.

Cruz and Dewhurst are pitted in a heated runoff that has exposed the division between the grassroots and establishment wings of the GOP — a division that has been on display at the convention. On Thursday, when Gov. Rick Perry praised Dewhurst as the best candidate to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate, members of the crowd loudly booed. When Dewhurst took the stage today, some greeted him with jeers and shouts of "Cruz!" but the noise was quickly shushed by others in the audience. 

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Politics
4:56 pm
Sat June 9, 2012

For Texas GOP, A New Position On Immigration Reform

The group Hispanic Republicans of Texas at a news conference Nov. 3, 2010.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for Texas Tribune

Late Friday night, Texas Republicans approved an unprecedented change to their official party platform: a call for a national guest-worker program.

The more moderate language is a welcoming gesture to Hispanics who have avoided the GOP because of what they view as its hardline position on immigration issues. 

"It takes away a tool that Democrats have used for years to drive a wedge between conservative Hispanics and Republicans," said TexasGOPvote.com's Bob Price, who is also a delegate at the Republican Party's state convention.

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Politics
11:15 am
Sat June 9, 2012

Castros, Parker on the Future of Texas Democrats

Joaquin (left) and Julian (right) Castro.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune / Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

A charismatic personality isn't going to end the Texas Democratic Party long electoral drought, three prominent local officeholders said Friday. But bickering Republicans and a renewed effort to build their party and their bench of candidates will help bring Texas Democrats back into statewide office.

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Politics
2:37 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

'Birther' Pains for Dewhurst at GOP Convention

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst speaking today at the state GOP convention in Fort Worth
Ben Philpott, KUT News

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst – a candidate for the U.S. Senate – seemed to be taken off guard today when he was confronted during his speech with shouts from "birthers," people who believe Barack Obama has fooled the nation into electing a foreign national as United States president.

The speech didn’t start well for Dewhurst – an establishment Republican candidate locked in a bitter runoff race with tea party favorite Ted Cruz. People began booing him as he started his speech. Or maybe they were chanting “Cruz.” Or maybe, as Governor Perry suggested after an event yesterday, they were simply chanting, “Dew!” for Dewhurst.

Whatever it was, others in the audience shushed the jeers, and Dewhurst delivered a red meat speech that appeared to be well-received.

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Politics
11:28 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Why State Conventions, Besides the Funny Hats?

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Are political conventions necessary?

Texas Democrats are in Houston for their state convention. Texas Republicans are in Fort Worth for the same thing. The Libertarians are meeting this weekend near DFW Airport, and the Green Party is having its convention outside of San Antonio.

It’s actually easier to make the convention case for the Libertarians and the Greens, who use their gatherings to put people on the ballot, because they don’t hold primary elections.

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Politics
10:15 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Outgoing Texas Democratic Chairman Highlights Victories

Democratic Party Chair Boyd Richie at the 2010 Texas Democratic convention in Corpus Christi, Tex. on June 26.
Spencer Selvidge, Texas Tribune

HOUSTON — Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie said Thursday during his final convention as the party’s leader that despite his disappointment in being unable to propel a candidate to victory in a statewide race during his six-year tenure, the party should still reflect on the significant milestones it has accomplished.

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12:24 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

At GOP Convention, Applause for Perry (But Boos for Dewhurst)

Lead in text: 
Gov. Rick Perry delivered a speech this morning filled with red meat for his Republican base, and allusions to his political future, writes KUT News' reporting partners the Texas Tribune. But Perry's support for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst wasn't as well received. The Trib has a transcript of the Governor's full remarks.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, speaking at the state’s Republican convention on Thursday, fueled speculation that he’ll run for re-election, saying he was “not riding into the sunset” but “mounting up for the next operation.”
2012 Presidential Election
12:04 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Ron Paul Says He Won't Have Enough Delegates To Win GOP Nomination

Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul speaks in this February file photo during an event celebrating Filipino veterans at the Leatherneck Club in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 2:13 pm

Rep. Ron Paul, who is still technically in the hunt for the Republican presidential nomination, seems to have finally accepted his fate.

In an email sent to supporters late last night, the Texas congressman said by the time the Republican National Convention comes around, he won't have sufficient delegates to secure the nomination.

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Politics
10:44 am
Thu June 7, 2012

GOP, Dems Gather for State Conventions

Republicans are gathering in Fort Worth starting today, while Democrats are getting together in Houston.

Texas political parties are gathering for the state's party conventions.

The Republicans are meeting in Fort Worth and the Libertarians will meet near the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. The Democrats are in Houston and delegates from the Texas Green Party will head to San Antonio.

Governor Rick Perry is scheduled to address the Republican convention this morning. Texas U.S. Representative Ron Paul will lead a session this afternoon. The convention runs through Sunday and will also feature Rick Santorum and Wisconsin U.S. Representative Paul Ryan.

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Politics
9:03 am
Wed June 6, 2012

Spanish Debate Proposal Prompts Rumors, Accusations

U.S. Senate candidates Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst.
Photos by Bob Daemmrich, Marjorie Kamys Cotera for the Texas Tribune

A suggestion by a Univision reporter that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz debate in Spanish has taken on a life of its own.

Though neither of the two U.S. Senate candidates in the July 31 Republican primary runoff are actively working to organize a Spanish-language debate, the idea has gained attention from national media and sparked erroneous reports that such an event is actually in the works, a claim both campaigns deny.

According to Univision reports posted online last week in Spanish and English, Dewhurst "has challenged Cruz, the Cuban-American attorney and Tea Party favorite, to a debate in Spanish."

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2012 Presidential Election
4:29 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

How Accurate is Obama's Attack on Romney's Jobs Record?

Mitt Romney talks about his plan for creating jobs at a 2011 campaign speech in Las Vegas.
Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 6:53 pm

A new Obama campaign ad says the Massachusetts economy actually fared poorly during Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's four years as governor, challenging the notion that Romney knows how to fix the nation's ailing economy.

The ad says that between 2003 and 2007, Massachusetts had one of the worst economic records in the country, lost 40,000 manufacturing jobs at "a rate twice the national average, and fell to 47th in job creation."

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Politics
1:57 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Legislative Leaders Spin Budget Instructions

Does a spending showdown loom under the Capitol dome?
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Texas agencies have their marching orders as they put together budget requests for the 2013 Legislative Session.

Monday the Legislative Budget Board sent instructions to agency heads letting them know budget deliberations in 2013 would start at the same amount of money each agency was given in the current budget. Each agency is also required to turn in a separate budget request reflecting a 10 percent cut over the the two year budget.

Governor Rick PerryLt. Governor David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus issued statements today on the new instructions.

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2012 Presidential Election
10:23 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Bill Clinton Campaigns as Obama's No. 1 Surrogate

Bill Clinton speaks with President Obama in the White House Briefing Room after a private meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. The former president has become Obama's highest-profile advocate this campaign season.
Jim Watson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 10:10 am

Former President Bill Clinton and President Obama used to have a famously rocky relationship. But the days when Clinton tried to help his wife, now secretary of state, defeat Obama in the 2008 primaries are ancient history.

Former Clinton strategist Carter Eskew says the ex-president is almost always an asset for Obama.

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Politics
1:15 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

President Obama Hosts President Bush For Unveiling Of Official Portraits

Meetings of current, former and future presidents are uncommon, and this one, on Jan. 7, 2009, was a once-in-28-years affair. From left, George H.W. Bush joins then-President-elect Obama, then-President George W. Bush and fellow former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter for lunch. It was the first time since 1981 that all living presidents had been together at the White House.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 4:06 pm

In a rare moment of harmony in Washington, President Obama hosted former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush for the unveiling of the couple's official portraits.

It's a tradition that dates back to 1800, when the White House acquired its first work of art: a full-length portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart.

During a ceremony in East Room of the White House, President Obama noted that fact saying that while Washington is constantly engulfed in partisan bickering, the "Presidency transcends those differences."

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Politics
11:11 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Defense of Marriage Act is Unconstitutional, Federal Court Rules

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 11:05 am

"A federal appeals court Thursday declared that the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to married gay couples, a ruling all but certain to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court," The Associated Press reports from Boston.

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Politics
10:16 am
Wed May 30, 2012

WikiLeaks' Assange has Two Weeks to Appeal Extradition

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange last December.
Geoff Caddick AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 8:33 am

While Britain's Supreme Court today said that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face accusations of sex assault, he was also given two weeks to appeal that ruling.

Assange's lawyer said that she needs that time to probe whether the court's decision was based in part on matters that weren't argued during the legal proceedings.

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