Texas Gov. Rick Perry for the first time sounded serious about his White House run during a television interview Tuesday, a week after his longtime aides returned to him leaving former Speak of the House Newt Gingrich’s campaign.
Perry told Fox News host Neil Cavuto he was “certainly giving it the appropriate thought process,” signaling a clear departure from his ambiguous statement to reporters late last month that “I’m going to think about it… but I think about a lot of things.”
Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas’ history, told the host, “Six weeks ago, this was not on my radar scene.”
“What has changed?” Cavuto asked. Perry said his wife Anita and his supporters asked him “to give this a second thought” as “our country is in trouble.”
Despite Cavuto’s nudging on when he should be expected to announce his run for the GOP presidential nomination, Perry remained noncommittal. “We have some time,” he said.
“How much time,” the host asked.
“It’s a thought process that I think I need to go through as an individual, realizing the cost of [it] both physically and mentally, what it does to me, my family… I’m not sure you have to make a decision in a month,” Perry replied.
Prior to the Fox News interview, Perry told Jay Root of The Texas Tribune Tuesday that Republican activists dominating the GOP presidential primary process were looking for more options, alluding to the possibility of his candidacy. “It’s pretty interesting…People would like to have some other options in the race, obviously,” he was quoted as saying.
Politico on Tuesday quoted an anonymous source as saying that Perry was seen with Dave Carney, his longtime advisor, at his side at a luncheon in Midtown Manhattan with about 30 political insiders and people close to New York’s financial community.
What’s more, a pro-business group, Americans for Job Security, placed online ads in New Hampshire, highlighting Perry’s economic record, Politico reported Monday.
A vocal critic of President Barack Obama, Perry seems prepared to showcase his success in creating jobs in Texas as part of his campaign. During the Fox News interview, Perry said it was “pretty simple… You keep those taxes low and the regulatory climate fair and balanced, predictable.”
Perry said GOP policies also benefit the Hispanic, Anglo and Asian communities in Texas. “They want to live in a state where they can be free from over taxation, over litigation. They want to be able to have good schools for their kids and have a wide-open future. That’s what the Republican Party is all about.”
As the speculation over Perry’s candidacy is rising, some of his critics appear to be ready to attack him, including on account of his Christian faith.
People for the American Way president Michael Keegan said in a statement Monday of Perry’s prayer event, The Response, planned for August in a Houston stadium, was an “inappropriate behavior” for a presidential candidate alleging it was intended to convert people to Christianity.
Keegan based the allegation on a statement by the spokesperson of Perry’s event, Eric Bearse, on American Family Radio. Bearse had said that “anyone who comes to this solemn assembly regardless of their faith tradition or background, will feel the love, grace, and warmth of Jesus Christ in that assembly hall, in that arena. And that’s what we want to convey, that there’s acceptance and that there’s love and that there’s hope if people will seek out the living Christ.”