CNN

Abbott's Chris Kyle Day a move to boost morale

Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott declared Feb. 2 as Chris Kyle Day in Texas. Kyle, the notorious Navy SEAL marksman who was portrayed in the popular film "American Sniper," is a big deal, especially as of late with the success of the film. Everyone and their mother know about "the guy from 'American Sniper.'" According to this CNN article, "Kyle became a legend in military circles due to his 160 confirmed kills and developed a deadly reputation in Iraq, where he served several times. He's considered one of the most lethal snipers in U.S. history." Kyle was murdered in 2013 at a North Texas gun range by a former Marine.

Abbott's justification for the introduction of the holiday was based on honoring our military heroes. During his speech at the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention last Friday, Abbott described Abbott as "a man who defended his brothers and sisters in arms on and off the battlefield." His announcement was met with a standing ovation.

This is a uniquely unpolitical move on behalf of Abbott. While I'm not surprised that such an act of patriotic appreciation is happening in Texas, you would be hard-pressed to find concrete opposition to the holiday. Despite that fact that Kyle earned his notoriety from killing people, he was killed unjustly — something characterized by other holidays we celebrate in the United States.

While Kyle is no Martin Luther King, Jr. (or John F. Kennedy, for that matter), he is a Texan, and Lord knows Texans love celebrating their own. In fact, the same CNN article reported that "thousands mourned him in his home state, lining a 200-mile route to his final resting place in Austin and attending a memorial service at the Cowboys stadium in Dallas." Kyle was undeniably loved, so why not name a day after him? The words frivolous and unnecessary initially came to mind when I read about Abbott's declaration, but now I realize that this act is just what Abbott needed to boost morale across the state. Regardless of your political affiliation, you can't help but admit that the holiday was instituted for the right reasons.

Happy Chris Kyle Day to you all.

Following the recent resignation of women’s track and field head coach Bev Kearney, several questions regarding the timing of the incident remain.

Kearney admitted in late October to having “an intimate consensual relationship” in 2002 with “a student-athlete in [the] program,” according to a statement from Patricia Ohlendorf, the University’s vice president for legal affairs.

Kearney’s relationship with the adult student-athlete began about 10 1/2 years ago and ended about eight years ago.

Kearney resigned Jan. 5 after being notified that the University was prepared to begin the termination process.

“You know, you get caught up in the emotional and the physical components of a relationship, and the last thing you’re doing is thinking rationally,” Kearney said in a Jan. 8 interview on the CNN program, “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.”

Kearney admitted to the previous relationship after it was brought to the attention of the athletic department in October by the still unrevealed former student-athlete involved. The University then placed Kearney on paid administrative leave as it further investigated the matter before she resigned later on.

According to the University’s Handbook of Operating Procedures, “the University strongly discourages consensual relationships between supervisors and subordinates, teachers and students and advisors and students.” The policy goes on to say that a failure to report the relationship “will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.”

The University implemented the policy in November 2001, about a year before the start of the relationship. But Kearney’s attorney Derek Howard said that the University’s reasoning for firing Kearney made no mention of the policy.

“[The University] doesn’t mention [Kearney’s] failure to report the relationship as the reason for firing her,” Howard said. “It’s because she had the relationship, period.”

In her statement, Ohlendorf said the relationship was “unprofessional and crosses the line of trust placed in the head coach for all aspects of the athletic program and the best interests of the student-athletes on the team.”

Kearney told CNN that while she was unaware of the policy to begin with, the disclosure part was never the reason for her termination.

“I said then, ‘Has everyone else been terminated as a point of reference of having had a relationship?’ and the answer was ... ‘We don’t view those the same as yours.’”

There are also several questions regarding the timing of the firing. According to a Nov. 30 story by The Associated Press, Kearney was up for a raise. Chris Plonsky, women’s athletics director, emailed President William Powers Jr. on Sept. 24 to request the raise, which would have brought Kearney’s base salary up from $270,000 per year plus bonuses to $397,000 per year plus bonuses in 2012-13. By 2017, her base salary would have been up to $475,000 per year. Plonsky said in the email that the raise would put her among the top three highest compensated track coaches in the nation.

Contracts need to be approved by the UT System Board of Regents, and Kearney’s contract was set to be on the board’s October agenda until being pulled by administrators, according to the story.

Howard said he believes the revelation of the relationship and the timing of Kearney’s proposed raise are not unrelated.

“We don’t think it was a coincidence,” Howard said. “We do believe there was a motivation to do that.”

Howard said he and Kearney are discussing legal options, which could include a discrimination lawsuit that would not only examine relationships between head coaches and student-athletes but relationships between students and other University employees, including faculty members.

Kearney was the women’s track and field head coach since 1993, leading the Longhorns to six national championships — three indoor and three outdoor — during her 20-year tenure. She was named her conference’s coach of the year 16 times and guided Texas to 14 straight top-10 finishes at the NCAA Outdoor Championships between 1994 and 2007, a previously unprecedented feat.

Kearney had been in a car accident in 2002 and suffered spinal injuries. She had to learn how to walk again, and her story and perseverance have been widely covered by local and national media outlets. Up until her firing, 2012 was a year filled with accomplishments for Kearney including being recognized as one of CNN’s “Breakthrough Women,” sharing the stage with Michelle Obama at the BET Honors gala and watching eight of her former student-athletes compete in the summer Olympics.

Kearney has not been given any opportunity to speak with the team, Howard said. Rose Brimmer, who spent eight seasons as an assistant coach under Kearney, will take over as interim head women’s track and field coach, while Stephen Sisson, who has been an assistant women’s track and field coach at Texas since 2006, will take on “expanded duties.” The athletic department did not respond to a question on whether it had begun its search for a new head coach.

As a Catholic who believes that life begins at conception, I am opposed to abortion, and I think it should be actively discouraged and vigorously regulated. In that sense, I see the reasoning behind Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Indiana’s assertion that in cases of conception during rape, “God intended it [life] to happen.” There is an argument to be made that any situation is redeemable, even a pregnancy caused by rape, but to propose that the decision should be left to legislators is tone deaf and at odds with American public opinion.

Only 14 percent of Americans believe that abortions should be illegal in cases of rape and incest, according to a CNN poll conducted Aug. 22-23, 2012. Forty-seven percent believe that it should be legal only in certain circumstances, and 35 percent believe it should be legal in all circumstances. Mourdock also shifted the debate from one favorable to the pro-life cause to an extreme situation. Conception from rape encompasses only 1.5 percent of all abortions, according to a 2005 report by the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reproductive health.

This tone deafness and lack of empathy sometimes shows up at pro-life rallies. For example, at the annual Texas Rally for Life that I attended in January 2010 with Catholic Longhorns for Life, guest speaker Texas Gov. Rick Perry trashed Kay Bailey Hutchison (who was, at that time, opposing him for the Republican gubernatorial nomination), for not supporting with enough vigor the ultrasound bill that was to be passed the following year.
He lauded the ultrasound proposal as a way to make mothers reconsider after seeing the images of the fetus, which, according to Perry, would reduce abortion rates. He ironically failed to mention House Bill 2702, which he supported, and which received unanimous legislative support in 2007. This bill provides health insurance subsidies and tuition waivers for adoptees. These measures could encourage adoption (and, indirectly, putting up children for adoption as an alternative to abortion).

This lack of balanced rhetoric in the keynote address represented not a constructive critique of a social problem, but an accusatory implication that mothers bear the brunt of the responsibility for abortions and therefore deserve institutionalized humiliation.

It’s worth noting that the most stringent limitations on abortion and declarations about redeeming situations do little to actually reduce the number of abortions. Despite all of the social discouragement and legal obstacles in place here, Texas ranked 13th in the nation by number of abortions sought in 2007, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Insisting on the most extreme legal restrictions possible is ineffective and often hypocritical.

If lawmakers really want to do something to limit the number of abortions, they need to discourage them by supporting aid to mothers, improving the foster care system and setting up social programs that would make the prospect of raising a child easier. Passing judgment on women who may feel that they have run out of options and making extreme statements that clash with the beliefs of over 80 percent of the country won’t get anything done. Very few people want to get abortions, so to solve the problem, let’s make it so that they don’t feel they have to.

Knoll is a Latin American Studies senior from Dallas.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — President Barack Obama’s administration launched a multi-pronged assault on Mitt Romney’s values and foreign policy credentials Sunday, while a fresh set of prominent Republicans rallied behind the GOP front-runner as the odds-on nominee, further signs the general election is overtaking the primary season.

A defiant Rick Santorum outlined plans to leave Wisconsin the day before the state’s contest Tuesday, an indication that the conservative favorite may be in retreat, his chances to stop Romney rapidly dwindling.

“I think the chances are overwhelming that (Romney) will be our nominee,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” ‘’It seems to me we’re in the final phases of wrapping up this nomination. And most of the members of the Senate Republican conference are either supporting him, or they have the view that I do, that it’s time to turn our attention to the fall campaign and begin to make the case against the president of the United States.”

Both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden went after Romney Sunday, underscoring the belief inside Obama’s Chicago re-election headquarters that Romney will — sooner than later — secure the right to face Obama this fall. Their involvement comes as both sides sharpen their general election strategy, perhaps weeks before the GOP contest formally comes to an end.

“I think Gov. Romney’s a little out of touch,” Biden told CBS’ “Face the Nation” in an interview broadcast Sunday. “I can’t remember a presidential candidate in the recent past who seems not to understand, by what he says, what ordinary middle-class people are thinking about and are concerned about.”

The line of attack is likely to play prominently in the Obama campaign’s general election narrative. While Obama is a millionaire, Romney would be among the nation’s wealthiest presidents ever elected. And he’s opened himself to criticism through a series of missteps.

Romney casually bet a rival $10,000 during a presidential debate, noted that his wife drives a “couple of Cadillacs,” and lists owners of professional sports teams among his friends. His personal tax records show investments in the Cayman Islands and a Swiss bank account.

Obama’s team on Sunday also seized on Romney’s foreign policy inexperience.

Biden said Obama was “stating the obvious” when he told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have more latitude on missile defense after the November general election. The two presidents did not realize the exchange, during a meeting in Seoul, South Korea, last weekend, was being picked up by a microphone.

Romney called it “alarming” and part of a pattern of “breathtaking weakness” with America’s foes. He asked what else Obama would be flexible on if he were to win a second term.

“Speaking of flexible, Gov. Romney’s a pretty flexible guy on his positions,” Biden said. Romney’s GOP opponents have accused the former Massachusetts governor of “flip-flopping” on issues such as health care and abortion.

Clinton seized on Romney’s comment that Russia is America’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe,” calling the statement “dated” and suggesting there were more pressing matters of concern in global affairs.

“I think it’s somewhat dated to be looking backwards instead of being realistic about where we agree, where we don’t agree,” Clinton told CNN Sunday.

“He just seems to be uninformed or stuck in a Cold War mentality,” Biden added. “It exposes how little the governor knows about foreign policy.”

But the administration’s comments may have been overshadowed Sunday by Romney’s ballooning Republican support.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., spent the weekend at Romney’s side campaigning across Wisconsin, one of three states to host Republican primaries Tuesday. First-term Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., followed Ryan’s lead Sunday morning.

“I’m coming out urging the voters of Wisconsin: ‘Let’s lead. Let’s show that this is the time to bring this process to an end so we can focus our attention on retiring President Obama,’” Johnson said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

He later appeared at a pancake brunch with Romney and offered a message to “every conservative”: “I’ve spoken with Mitt, I totally believe he is committed to saving America.”

The senator joins a growing chorus of prominent Republicans calling for the party to coalesce behind Romney’s candidacy. Romney also scored former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his father, President George H.W. Bush, in recent days.

Ryan’s endorsement was particularly painful for Santorum, who had been aggressively praising the congressman — a fiscal conservative hero in Wisconsin and across the country — for much of the past week. That praise ended Saturday, when Santorum referred to Ryan as “some other Wisconsinite.”

Santorum’s senior staff outlined an increasingly unlikely path to victory that depends upon hypothetical success more than a month away.

“May is going to be a good month for us,” Santorum campaign manager Mike Biundo said. “The race goes on.”

Biundo confirmed that Santorum is aggressively working the phones to sway delegates in states like Washington, Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri that have already voted. But he’s having mixed success.

“We have some (delegates) that have committed. I think most people seem to right now still be kind of waiting it out. There seems to be a lot of that that’s going on,” Biundo said.

Santorum was publicly defiant Sunday.

“Look, this race isn’t even at halftime yet,” he told “Fox News Sunday.” He said Romney “hasn’t been able to close the deal with conservatives, much less anybody else in this party. And that’s not going to be an effective tool for us to win this election.”

But with losses piling up for in other industrial states like Ohio, Michigan and Illinois, Santorum acknowledged the results in Wisconsin Tuesday will send a “strong signal” about the direction of the Republican contest.

And he appears to in retreat.

Having devoted more than a week to campaigning across Wisconsin, Santorum is scheduled to return to his home state, Pennsylvania, the day before the Wisconsin contest. Pennsylvania’s primary is more than three weeks away.

Biundo noted that Santorum moved out of Louisiana — where he won — before that state’s election day. But Santorum’s team has demonstrated far less confidence in recent days about Wisconsin than Romney, who has predicted victory here.

Trying to be upbeat, Santorum dismissed Romney’s growing support as “panic” in the Republican establishment and said seeing “everybody sort of coming out of the woodwork to say the things they’re saying today makes me feel like we’re actually doing pretty well here in Wisconsin.”

Meanwhile, Romney hopes to score a knockout blow in Pennsylvania, which hosts its primary April 24. He already has an office in Harrisburg and four paid staffers in the state, and plans to shift additional resources there after Tuesday.

With about half of the GOP nominating contests complete, Romney has won 54 percent of the delegates at stake, putting him on track to reach the threshold 1,144 national convention delegates in June. Santorum, who has won 27 percent of the delegates at stake, would need to win 74 percent of the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — President Barack Obama’s administration launched a multi-pronged assault on Mitt Romney’s values and foreign policy credentials Sunday, while a fresh set of prominent Republicans rallied behind the GOP front-runner as the odds-on nominee, further signs the general election is overtaking the primary season.

A defiant Rick Santorum outlined plans to leave Wisconsin the day before the state’s contest Tuesday, an indication that the conservative favorite may be in retreat, his chances to stop Romney rapidly dwindling.

“I think the chances are overwhelming that (Romney) will be our nominee,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” ‘’It seems to me we’re in the final phases of wrapping up this nomination. And most of the members of the Senate Republican conference are either supporting him, or they have the view that I do, that it’s time to turn our attention to the fall campaign and begin to make the case against the president of the United States.”

Both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden went after Romney Sunday, underscoring the belief inside Obama’s Chicago re-election headquarters that Romney will — sooner than later — secure the right to face Obama this fall. Their involvement comes as both sides sharpen their general election strategy, perhaps weeks before the GOP contest formally comes to an end.

“I think Gov. Romney’s a little out of touch,” Biden told CBS’ “Face the Nation” in an interview broadcast Sunday. “I can’t remember a presidential candidate in the recent past who seems not to understand, by what he says, what ordinary middle-class people are thinking about and are concerned about.”

The line of attack is likely to play prominently in the Obama campaign’s general election narrative. While Obama is a millionaire, Romney would be among the nation’s wealthiest presidents ever elected. And he’s opened himself to criticism through a series of missteps.

Romney casually bet a rival $10,000 during a presidential debate, noted that his wife drives a “couple of Cadillacs,” and lists owners of professional sports teams among his friends. His personal tax records show investments in the Cayman Islands and a Swiss bank account.

Obama’s team on Sunday also seized on Romney’s foreign policy inexperience.

Biden said Obama was “stating the obvious” when he told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have more latitude on missile defense after the November general election. The two presidents did not realize the exchange, during a meeting in Seoul, South Korea, last weekend, was being picked up by a microphone.

Romney called it “alarming” and part of a pattern of “breathtaking weakness” with America’s foes. He asked what else Obama would be flexible on if he were to win a second term.

“Speaking of flexible, Gov. Romney’s a pretty flexible guy on his positions,” Biden said. Romney’s GOP opponents have accused the former Massachusetts governor of “flip-flopping” on issues such as health care and abortion.

Clinton seized on Romney’s comment that Russia is America’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe,” calling the statement “dated” and suggesting there were more pressing matters of concern in global affairs.

“I think it’s somewhat dated to be looking backwards instead of being realistic about where we agree, where we don’t agree,” Clinton told CNN Sunday.

“He just seems to be uninformed or stuck in a Cold War mentality,” Biden added. “It exposes how little the governor knows about foreign policy.”

But the administration’s comments may have been overshadowed Sunday by Romney’s ballooning Republican support.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., spent the weekend at Romney’s side campaigning across Wisconsin, one of three states to host Republican primaries Tuesday. First-term Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., followed Ryan’s lead Sunday morning.

“I’m coming out urging the voters of Wisconsin: ‘Let’s lead. Let’s show that this is the time to bring this process to an end so we can focus our attention on retiring President Obama,’” Johnson said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

He later appeared at a pancake brunch with Romney and offered a message to “every conservative”: “I’ve spoken with Mitt, I totally believe he is committed to saving America.”

The senator joins a growing chorus of prominent Republicans calling for the party to coalesce behind Romney’s candidacy. Romney also scored former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and his father, President George H.W. Bush, in recent days.

Ryan’s endorsement was particularly painful for Santorum, who had been aggressively praising the congressman — a fiscal conservative hero in Wisconsin and across the country — for much of the past week. That praise ended Saturday, when Santorum referred to Ryan as “some other Wisconsinite.”

Santorum’s senior staff outlined an increasingly unlikely path to victory that depends upon hypothetical success more than a month away.

“May is going to be a good month for us,” Santorum campaign manager Mike Biundo said. “The race goes on.”

Biundo confirmed that Santorum is aggressively working the phones to sway delegates in states like Washington, Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri that have already voted. But he’s having mixed success.

“We have some (delegates) that have committed. I think most people seem to right now still be kind of waiting it out. There seems to be a lot of that that’s going on,” Biundo said.

Santorum was publicly defiant Sunday.

“Look, this race isn’t even at halftime yet,” he told “Fox News Sunday.” He said Romney “hasn’t been able to close the deal with conservatives, much less anybody else in this party. And that’s not going to be an effective tool for us to win this election.”

But with losses piling up for in other industrial states like Ohio, Michigan and Illinois, Santorum acknowledged the results in Wisconsin Tuesday will send a “strong signal” about the direction of the Republican contest.

And he appears to in retreat.

Having devoted more than a week to campaigning across Wisconsin, Santorum is scheduled to return to his home state, Pennsylvania, the day before the Wisconsin contest. Pennsylvania’s primary is more than three weeks away.

Biundo noted that Santorum moved out of Louisiana — where he won — before that state’s election day. But Santorum’s team has demonstrated far less confidence in recent days about Wisconsin than Romney, who has predicted victory here.

Trying to be upbeat, Santorum dismissed Romney’s growing support as “panic” in the Republican establishment and said seeing “everybody sort of coming out of the woodwork to say the things they’re saying today makes me feel like we’re actually doing pretty well here in Wisconsin.”

Meanwhile, Romney hopes to score a knockout blow in Pennsylvania, which hosts its primary April 24. He already has an office in Harrisburg and four paid staffers in the state, and plans to shift additional resources there after Tuesday.

With about half of the GOP nominating contests complete, Romney has won 54 percent of the delegates at stake, putting him on track to reach the threshold 1,144 national convention delegates in June. Santorum, who has won 27 percent of the delegates at stake, would need to win 74 percent of the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination.

Knowing the network’s history, it’s difficult to understand ESPN’s insatiable compulsion to create more and more programming with narrower and narrower focuses.

In 1978 Bill Rasmussen, the newly unemployed former communications director of the New England Whalers conceived an idea for an all-Connecticut cable sports channel. He went to RCA Americom with the intention of purchasing transponder time on their flagship commercial communications satellite, Satcom 1.

There were probably six people in 1978 that understood the potential of cable television, so RCA was having a difficult time selling the transponders, which were used to relay programming information to ground-based cable providers. Low demand forced RCA to restructure its pricing so that it was actually more cost effective to purchase one of the satellite’s 24-hour transponders than the ones Rasmussen initially bid for that only transmitted for several hours at a time.

Wanting to take advantage of this but knowing that he couldn’t fill 24-hours of airtime with Connecticut-only programming, Rasmussen was forced to expand the scope of the network to encompass sports from all markets. ESPN’s latest venture, the Longhorn Network, doesn’t benefit from that kind of foresight.

Watching the Longhorn Network is akin to watching some kind of bizarre CNN that only reports on things that happen in your neighborhood. There’s barely enough news in the entire world for CNN to not have to cut away to a YouTube video of a bear on a trampoline every 15 minutes; imagine what it would become if its coverage area were a mere 40 acres.

I caught up with the Longhorn Network early Sunday morning just as it was wrapping up a Texas-OU football game from 1994. From then on, most of the day’s programming featured the same dated editions of ESPN College Football Final and the Longhorn Network’s Texas GameDay Final. Texas GameDay Final is a well-produced program that recaps Texas football’s performance every Saturday. It runs for an hour and a half and is an hour too long — ESPN College Football Final is a national recap show that only lasts an hour. That rotation was broken up by a three hour program entitled “The Season: 2005 Texas Longhorns,” a documentary about the 2005 UT national championship team that I’m pretty sure you can buy at the airport for $5.

At 6:30 p.m., one more block of Texas GameDay Final and ESPN College Football Final followed coverage of the Texas-Iowa State game — not that Texas-Iowa State game, but the volleyball game that apparently also happened. The game itself was in the 4:30 p.m. slot, airing hours after its conclusion and re-aired at 9:00 p.m. I could have watched Bailey Webster record a career-best 16 kills on .593 hitting one more time, but I didn’t know what any of that meant the first time so I made no plans to stick around.

Since I don’t live on campus, it was a chore for me to find somewhere to actually watch the Longhorn Network, and it occurred to me that it might be possible that the sampling of programming I was able to observe on Sunday wasn’t truly indicative of the usual breadth of the Longhorn Network. The Longhorn Network posts its upcoming schedule on its website, so I was able to gain some insight into the diversity of its programming over the course of a week and it doesn’t get any better.

For the week of Oct. 2-8 at least, weekdays are dominated by repeats of a program called “Longhorn Extra,” an hour-long “daily record of all Longhorn sports” that airs new episodes weeknights at 10 p.m. Five-hour blocks of that show are accompanied by various decades-old football games against Oklahoma and episodes of “Friday Night Lights.”

All of this being said, I think it’s too early to really be able to judge the Longhorn Network based on its programming schedule alone. The original ESPN’s first broadcast in 1979 began with a women’s tennis recap on “Sportscenter” and followed with coverage of a professional slow-pitch softball game. The network proved innovative enough to diversify itself and become the cable giant that it is today. The same minds are at work behind the Longhorn Network, but whether or not diversity is even an attainable goal for a venture with such a narrow focus is the real question, and one that will ultimately dictate the fate of the niche channel.

Printed on Monday, October 3, 2011 as: Longhorn Netowrk needs to get back to home roots

After appearances on Fox News, The Today Show, The Daily Show and CNN’s Sunday morning program, Gov. Rick Perry returned to Texas from his whirlwind book tour last week.

The tour has launched a new wave of speculation that Perry is thinking about running for president in 2012, something the governor has steadfastly denied every time he’s been asked about it.

“I have the best job in America,” Perry said Friday on American Morning News, a conservative radio talk show. “I truly think that governors are where the rubber meets the road. It’s where the action is.”

The Associated Press reported on Saturday that Perry is expected to be named the head of the Republican Governors Association at its meeting in San Diego that begins Monday and lasts until Thursday, which Perry plans to attend. If he accepts the position, it could complicate a presidential run because Perry would have to raise funds for both the RGA and a presidential bid.

While running for re-election, Perry announced plans to raise his national profile by creating a coalition of conservative Republican governors with the aim of campaigning around the country to stop what Perry calls the excesses of Washington, D.C.

“Not long ago, the candidate book tour was rare,” said H. W. Brands, a history and government professor. “Now, it has become almost mandatory.”

President Barack Obama wrote his second book before running for president in 2008. Former President George W. Bush co-wrote a 1999 biography about himself that described his political philosophy before running for president. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich has also recently released a book and is openly considering a run for the presidency.

Brands said writing a book allows potential candidates to define themselves and their positions and philosophies before being hit by the glaring media spotlight of a national political campaign.

“[Candidate’s books] provide a biography; they show the candidates to be thinkers and writers; they give the media a reason to interview the candidates long before the candidates have to declare themselves,” Brands said.

Perry, for instance, wrote extensively about federal issues in “Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington.”

There are other political considerations that drive candidates to release books before they declare whether they’re going to run for the presidency, said government professor Daron Shaw.

“There are two purposes to [writing a book]: It keeps you in the public eye and it generates media coverage,” Shaw said. “It helps the candidate gain entry and experience with reporters. It allows you to plug into Washington-based networks that can be useful when you set up an exploratory committee to run for office.”

With 51 percent of precincts reporting, CNN projects incumbent Republican Rick Perry as winner of the Texas gubernatorial race over Democrat Bill White.

Perry has received 1,385,194 or 57 percent of votes reported so far.