A feisty comeback from Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s team: “As governor of Texas, Rick Perry has taken extraordinary steps to secure the border, stepping in where Washington has failed. The Washington dysfunction that Sen. Paul is a part of has resulted in a porous border that jeopardizes the security of our country.” Extra points for having an aide, not the boss, reply to a jab.

Former president Bill Clinton with chief executive of the Shanduka Group, Phuti Mahanyele. (European Pressphoto Agency)

A gutsy move by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.): “Louisiana senator David Vitter, who is running to succeed governor Bobby Jindal next year, surprised many on Friday when he announced his support for the Common Core educational standards. That puts him squarely at odds with Jindal, who has gone to great lengths to withdraw Louisiana from Common Core, issuing a series of executive orders to do so after a number of legislative proposals failed. Vitter took a swipe at Jindal in his announcement, telling the Associated Press, ‘I support the strong standards Louisiana now has in place and think Governor Jindal’s attempt to start from scratch right before the school year is very disruptive.'” Good point especially since Jindal never gave a satisfactory explanation for the flip-flop, which many see as blatant pandering to a nationwide right-wing audience.

Nervy and typical of Iran to boast about helping to kill Israelis. “Iran says it gave missile technology to Hamas.” Iran thinks it is winning the regional power struggle; President Obama doesn’t really understand there is one.

Prickly Israelis put aside a myriad of complaints with one another and came together in the face of evil. “A funny thing happened on the way to the demolition of 32 terror tunnels in Hamastan: ‎Israeli society experienced nearly a solid month of internal unity. This would not be worth ‎mentioning if it weren’t so extraordinary. . . . [and] the acknowledgement on the part of some of Israel’s neighbors that Hamas is an evil ‎regional threat with backing from Iran was not only ironic; it was also comforting.” Read the whole thing.

Is any plucky Democrat in a contested seat going to run on Obamacare? Not many with figures like this: “The majority of insurance companies are raising the price of health plans in Florida through the Affordable Care Act exchange. State insurance officials said Monday that 14 companies filed plans, including three new insurers. Of the 11 returning plans, eight filed average rate increases ranging from 11 to 23 percent, and three filed rate decreases ranging from 5 to 12 percent.”

Instead of fiery denunciations of Israel from Obama, how about blowing the whistle on the Hamas money scam? “The price paid by the people of Gaza is enormous, but that was part of Hamas’s goal: no destruction, no reconstruction money to skim. The basic situation remains: every citizen of Gaza is a Hamas hostage.That is not an argument against reconstruction, but it is a reminder that the rules we and other donors set will determine whether most of the money assists people in need, or assists Hamas.  One has to doubt, if experience is a guide, that there will be much stomach among donors to set up stiffer procedures so that UNRWA schools do not again become rocket depots; so that the Hamas command center under the Shifa Hospital is destroyed; so that the dual use items that may enter Gaza are tracked from entry to use and diversion of goods like cement is prevented.” It is like Saddam Hussein’s oil for food scam with the U.N. all over again.

Given how pushy Bill Clinton is, I wouldn’t be surprised if he snagged some speaking gigs while hawking the Ex-Im Bank at the Africa summit: “‘I’ve heard more ridiculous things said about the Ex-Im Bank in the last six months than I have in my adult life,’ Clinton said while moderating a panel during Tuesday’s business forum. Tea Party groups have said the bank is little more than ‘crony capitalism’ designed to help companies like Boeing and General Electric. . . . ‘Only in Washington could a conference on international development devolve into a blatant pitch for corporate welfare,’ griped Dan Holler, a spokesman for Heritage Action, a top Tea Party group opposing the bank’s reauthorization.” On this I agree entirely with Heritage Action.