Rick Perry “Tempted” by 2012 Campaign, But Likely Not Running

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 26, 2011   |   12:17PM   |   Austin, TX

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he is tempted by the prospects of a 2012 Republican bid for president but the signs point to him sticking with his past comments saying he will not become a candidate.

On Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News show last night, Perry admitted the temptation exists to toss his name in the hat for the Republican primary but said he is currently focused on the legislature.

“With all your level of disappointment, for lack of a better word, with the federal government taking care of these issues, you say you don’t want to run for president,” Van Susteren said, to which Perry responded, “Right.”

“Why not? Are you tempted?” she asked.

“At the end of the day, for the next week, I’ve got a legislative session to focus on. My hope is that person will come forward that can win the presidency that we can all get behind,” Perry said. “I can’t say I’m not tempted, but the fact is: this is something I don’t want to do.”

Meanwhile, in a Tuesday press conference, Perry declined to totally rule out a presidential run but his top strategist acknowledged to the Texas Tribune that perry is “thinking about” the possibility of a campaign.

“I’ve got my focus on where it’s appropriately supposed to be, and that’s this legislative session,” Perry said. “I’ve said multiple times I’m not going to get distracted from my work at hand, and I’m not going to get distracted today, either.”

However, Perry strategist Dave Carney says there is some possibility, but also threw cold water on the speculation.

“I’m sure he’s thinking about it because it’s just human nature when you have Rush Limbaugh spend 20 minutes talking about you and have all these other people mention you, that you don’t sort of think that’s flattering and think about it,” Carney tells the Texas Tribune. “But I don’t see any change in his direction, what he’s planning to do.”

Some say Perry will not run and cite the fact that Rob Johnson, a longtime strategist to Perry, went to work for Newt Gingrich because he believes Perry is not running for president.

Perry has pleased pro-life advocates in Texas many times with signing pro-life legislation — most recently signing an ultrasound bill allowing women to see them before an abortion and hopefully changing their minds on it.  He has been strongly supported by pro-life groups. Perry supported or signed into law the Women’s Right to Know Act and the Prenatal Protection Act in 2003, parental consent law in 2005, and funding for alternatives to abortions in 2007 and 2009.