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Tom Leppert Gets Texas Tribuned

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First thing Wednesday morning down in Austin, Mayor Tom Leppert visited with Texas Tribune editor Evan Smith about a whole host of subjects -- among them, right off the bat,

why Leppert endorsed Gov. Rick Perry earlier this month

, despite the fact his is supposed to be a nonpartisan position. Also on the table: the national debt, the convention center hotel ("a type of investment that unfortunately a private business can't get their arms around, because the benefit of that comes from cab drivers who get fares from people who are coming into town, restaurants, hotels ..."), City Hall's impact on the Dallas Independent School District ("... we can shine a light on education ..."), the north-south divide (or, as Smith puts it, "Dallas has always had a race issue"), Obama's health care reform ("a real concern to me"), the Trinity River Corridor Project (a "recreational" project and, still, a "transportation" project) and, of course, his senatorial aspirations.

Says Leppert regarding the latter: "The first thing I would tell you is I enjoy being mayor. I've enjoyed the experience. I think we've made an awful lot of progress in Dallas. We talked about some of the achievements ... I think the best thing we've accomplished in Dallas is a change of attitude. People feel things can get done. There's really that sense of optimism, that belief in tomorrow. And I feel awfully good about that, so I'm very happy doing what I'm doing. I will also tell you, though, that there are issues on the national level ... that interest me too. Next several months I'll have to make a decision on running for re-election or not, and when that comes up I'll address it same way I always have."

So, Smith says, the door's not shut on running for the Senate?

Says the mayor, "That's accurate."

What you see at top is the edited-down, half-as-long version of the duo's chitchat sans the audience Q&A that followed. There's an even longer, downloadable, audio-only version here that runs close to an hour. Sadly, the import dance remix remains unavailable.

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