Rick Perry vs. the World *
Tracking the 2006 Texas gubernatorial race.
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Saturday, March 26, 2005
Videotape brouhaha aftermath, part 2
Todd Gillman, DMN
The video of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison air-kissing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton struck a nerve. For Texas conservatives, the footage -- obtained and spread by Gov. Rick Perry's camp -- underscored doubts about Ms. Hutchison's conservative bona fides.

Bad timing for Ms. Hutchison, who's worked hard lately to signal to core GOP voters that she really is a conservative.

She's filed a bill aimed at curbing indecency on television, spoken out for congressional action to restore Terri Schiavo's feeding tube and pushed for more Border Patrol agents. And that's just in the last two weeks. Earlier this year, she stepped out front on a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Cathie Adams, president of Texas Eagle Forum, said the senator "absolutely" has been making a play for the right lately, and the Clinton video underscored the artifice.

"Her record is not good," said Ms. Adams, who has endorsed the governor as he girds for a challenge from the senator.

To Ms. Adams, votes long ago say more than recent press releases. She cited a Hutchison vote five years ago against condemning China's one-child-per-couple policy and others to finance the National Endowment for the Arts, which had been accused of funding sacrilegious art.

Yet the national Eagle Forum gives Ms. Hutchison high marks: 80 percent on last year's scorecard, 90 percent the year before that. The American Conservative Union gave her an 84 last year, and a 91 lifetime. The National Right to Life Committee, an anti-abortion group, rated her 100 for the last Congress and 90 for the previous two years.

The nonpartisan National Journal deems her the 31st most conservative senator, roughly middle of the GOP pack.


He cited votes she cast on nearly identical Senate resolutions affirming Roe vs. Wade as "appropriate" and saying it secured an important constitutional right. She voted no in 1999 and yes in 2003. The newer version omitted a claim that before Roe, women were "forced" to undergo dangerous illegal procedures, a change she called key.


Tim Lambert, head of the Texas Home School Coalition and a former GOP national committeeman, said many conservatives are angry that Ms. Hutchison supports stem cell research and opposed an appeals court nominee who publicly embraced the biblical view that wives should be subservient to husbands.

"She was there with Hillary Rodham Clinton and other liberal senators" on that nominee, he said. "I think she's a moderate."


"There's always going to be detractors with a cynical mindset," Mr. Paulitz said, "but Senator Hutchison is voting and speaking her heart, as she always has. It's just that now, some people are finally paying attention."

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