Rumors from Texas

by admin on 06/20/2011 12:59 AM

New Whispers of Perry 2012 Bid for the White House

By NEIL KING JR.

For months, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has told potential donors and Republican higher-ups he has no interest in running for the White House in 2012.

But over the past two weeks, political advisers and friends say, Mr. Perry has changed his tune on a possible presidential campaign. In private conversations, they say, the three-term governor said he worries that the current GOP contenders have yet to stir real excitement within the party and may struggle when facing President Barack Obama.

“He thinks there is a void [in the current field of candidates], and that he might be uniquely positioned to fill that void,” said one Perry confidant who talked to the governor last week.

In these conversations, the governor has emphasized his own track record in bringing jobs to Texas, which has created more jobs than any other state in recent years. That success, he has told supporters, would position him well in an election that will likely pivot on jobs.

The conversations add detail on Mr. Perry’s thinking. He generated political buzz two weeks ago when he told reporters he planned to “think about” a presidential run after the Memorial Day weekend. He added, with a smile, “But I think about a lot of things.”

In these conversations, the governor has emphasized his own track record in bringing jobs to Texas, which has created more jobs than any other state in recent years. That success, he has told supporters, would position him well in an election that will likely pivot on jobs.

The conversations add detail on Mr. Perry’s thinking. He generated political buzz two weeks ago when he told reporters he planned to “think about” a presidential run after the Memorial Day weekend. He added, with a smile, “But I think about a lot of things.” . . .

At the same time, Mr. Perry, 61 years old, is making a number of national appearances this month, including an address next week to an annual dinner of the New York Republican Party. Last week he announced an August summit in Houston and invited all the nation’s governors to attend. He described the event as a “day of prayer and fasting” focused on “the healing of our country.”

A former Air Force pilot, Mr. Perry served six years in the Texas state legislature before becoming the state agriculture commissioner. He was lieutenant governor for one year before taking over as governor when his predecessor, George W. Bush, became president in 2001.

Mr. Perry has recently built a base among tea-party groups and conservatives by hammering on state’s rights and attacking the Obama administration for its health-care overhaul and interventions in the economy. This year, he backed an array of measures appealing to social conservatives, including a requirement that all women considering an abortion have a sonogram first. . .

Mr. Perry’s record has brought him raves from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, who told his national radio audience last month that if Mr. Perry jumps in, “it’s a brand-new day, and it starts all over again.”

Few dispute that assessment. “There is no question if he got in the race he would change the dynamic very quickly,” said Henry Barbour, a prominent GOP operative and nephew of Mississippi GOP Gov. Haley Barbour. “He is central casting, he can raise the money, and he has deep ties with the grass-roots.” . . .

Read the entire article on Rick Perry in the WSJ, subscription is required . . .

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