The eyes of Texas, at the very least, seem to be upon Rick Perry, despite no formal entrance to the 2012 presidential race. But at long last, the Texas governor has put voice to his desire to make a run for it.
In a recent interview with Time magazine, Perry said he's calm in his "heart that this is what I'm supposed to be doing." And with that, he is making an appearance at a RedState conference in Charleston, S.C., the same day several of his potential opponents are taking part in the Iowa Straw Poll, where, as speculation of a bid mounts, he is expected to air his decision.
Asked by Time's Mark Halperin if there was an "open question" about whether or not he planned to run, Perry seemed to suggest that he had already made his choice.
"I wouldn't be this far into the process ... The issue of, 'is this what I want to do?' was dealt with about 45 days ago in a conversation with my wife," he said. "Prior to that, no. Being the President of the United States was not on my radar screen from the standpoint of something I wanted to do."
But now, that has changed.
"I mean, this is starting to get to that comfort level and I've the calmness in my heart," Perry continued. "I think that was a bit of a hurdle, initially, but I'm very calm in my heart that this is what I'm supposed to be doing."
And Perry is expected to be a fan-favorite for the GOP nomination if he enters the race, backed with support from the Republican establishment and fiscal and social conservatives. Recent poll numbers prove it (as much as polls can).
According to a CNN/ORC International survey, Perry is tucked into second place, right behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 15 percent to Romney's 17 percent. Both picked up a point since the last CNN poll released in July. Perry won 7 percent of independents while garnering 19 percent support from conservatives.
Outlining the foundation for his campaign, Perry said he would attack Washington just as he has for the past 10 years in Austin: keep spending and taxes to a minimum, have a fair, "predictable" regulatory climate, and "have a legal system that doesn't allow for over-suing."
"I've got a record. And that record, particularly when it comes to the most important issues in this campaign, which is creating the climate of America that gives incentives to job creators to risk their capital and create jobs for our citizens," Perry said. "I will put that up against anybody who's running and particularly against this president we have today, whose jobs record is abysmal," he said.
He'll also do that with the counsel from his predecessor, former President George W. Bush who, he noted, has been advising him on the decision.
"He said, 'You'll do what's right," Perry said of a June conversation with the former president. "He said, you don't want to wake up when you're 70 and go, 'I wish I had tried that. I wish I had done that."