In this morning's edition of The American Spectator's Newsmaker breakfast, Texas Governor Rick Perry spoke, and spent most of his time discussing his initiatives on border security, Operation Linebacker and Operation Rio Grande, which he called a "blueprint" for how to effectively patrol the border. Perry said that since beginning the initiatives last year, Texas/>/> has seen crime decreases of 60 percent in targeted areas and that anecdotal evidence suggested the impact of the crackdown could be felt in other states. For instance, he said that
Texas/>/> has received calls from officials in
Louisiana/>/> saying that they were also seeing reductions in crime. The strategy includes better use of technology, more intelligence sharing among sheriffs in different counties, more boots on the ground and periodic raids, or "surges" when sheriffs identify an increased level of criminal activity at a given place. He also, as commander in chief of the Texas National Guard, plans to take advantage of Predator drones, so that the pilots can patrol the border as part of their training on the aircraft. Perry traveled to DC today with 12 of the border sheriffs as part of a push to get federal funding to continue as well as expand these initiatives, arguing that border protection should not have to be the responsibility of states. He said the border fence law signed by President Bush could help, but should only be viewed as one part of a broader strategy to secure the border.
As far as his own re-election, he was confident that he would prevail in a crowded field that includes Kinky Friedman, and the polls back him up. He was also optimistic that he would receive the highest Hispanic vote of any Republican gubernatorial candidate in the history of the state, explaining that his border security initiatives have actually helped him in this regard by reducing crime in Hispanic neighborhoods.