A new interview with the Des Moines Register makes it seem all but certain that Texas Gov. Rick Perry will enter an already-crowded field of Republican candidates running for president in 2012.
“I’m not ready to tell you that I’m ready to announce that I’m in, but I’m getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I’ve been called to do,” Perry told the Register. “This is what America needs.” (Perry, Bachmann lead in July Daily Caller/ConservativeHome Tracking Poll)
Over the phone, Perry told the Iowa newspaper, “I’ll be real honest with you, I don’t wake up in the morning — never did and still don’t today — and say ‘Gee, I want to be president of the United States.’”
But his wife Anita and a number of donors in Iowa and around the country want him to jump into the race for the nomination.
It remains uncertain, however, how Perry’s entry would affect the race for the Republican nomination. Perry is an avowed social conservative, and could draw support away from candidates like former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum should he enter.
One of Perry’s top critics in his state, Democratic Rep. Lon Burnam, said Perry would “push Sarah Palin and Bachmann down the stairs so hard and so fast” should he enter the race that “he will emerge in the next three to four months as the darling of the fundamentalist religious right.”
Perry told the Register he’ll make his decision in the next two or three weeks.