"On executions, Perry easily holds the record," blares the top headline on page A3 of today's Washington Post.
"Issue likely to be debated in 2012 race," a subheadline to the story notes although nowhere in his 37-paragraph article does reporter Robert Barnes cite polling data that suggest capital punishment is an issue of primary or even secondary concern to likely 2012 presidential voters.
For what it's worth, the most recent Gallup poll [May 5-11, 2011] shows nearly two-thirds of Americans believe capital punishment while another five percent say it "depends on the situation."
Unlike most state chief executives the Texas governor doesn't sign death warrants, cannot invoke a moratorium on execution even if he wanted to, and cannot pardon or commute sentences. Barnes made note of all that but then quoted a death penalty critic and former Thurgood Marshall law clerk who insisted that "it is fair to say a Texas governor is responsible for every execution."
What's more, Barnes tagged Perry as "unapologetic" for his pro-death penalty views, quoting his book "Fed Up!" in which the Republican governor quipped, "If you don't support the death penalty and citizens packing a pistol, don't come to Texas."
Yet Barnes himself reported, Texas state appellate courts are benched with elected judges who represent the state's generally pro-death penalty electorate and the last Democratic governor of the state, the liberal Ann Richards, saw 50 executions in her four-year tenure.