- The Washington Times - Friday, May 27, 2011

Opening the door on a 2012 White House run wider than ever before, Texas Gov. Rick Perry took another step toward a run for the Republican presidential nomination on Friday when he told reporters, “I’m going to think about it.”

Shortly after he uttered those words, Perry spokesman Mark Miner repeated the denials that have flowed from the Perry camp every time the popular three-term governor appears outside Texas to give what could be construed as a practice stump speech.

Mr. Perry has been doing that a lot, but Mr. Miner dismissed the governor’s speaking schedule as a leading indicator of his political ambitions.

“Nothing has changed,” Mr. Miner told The Washington Times. “He said he is thinking about it and the governor thinks about a lot of things. But he has no intention to run for the nomination.”

Until Friday, however, Mr. Perry’s standard answer was that he had the “best job in the world” as Texas governor and harbored no desire or intention to chase the GOP presidential nomination.

As The Washington Times reported on May 18, however, Mr. Perry wowed a meeting of GOP state party chairmen from around the country with a luncheon address at their meeting in Dallas.

His appearance prompted an unheard-of departure from Republican National Committee protocol by some members who called on him to run, while others said they want a “draft Perry movement” to get started as soon the Texas legislature winds up its session on Monday.

“I would love to see a movement to draft Rick for the nomination if that’s the only way we can get him to run,” RNC General Counsel Bill Crocker told The Washington Times after the Perry speech to several hundred party officials.

“The comments I got after his speech made it clear I am not alone,” Mr. Crocker said.

Mr. Perry’s press conference on Friday focused on his signing a bill required potential voters to show identification.

A run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination would confirm long-held expectations by some conservatives and could energize GOP voters who have shown little enthusiasm so far for the field of candidates who are running for the nomination.

Veteran GOP presidential campaign manager Ed Rollins told The Washington Times that Mr. Perry “will be a serious candidate, who can raise money, has good operatives and a great record. He s also a great campaigner.”