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Rick Perry to shed light on political future in weekend speech

August 08, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli and Maeve Reston
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry prays during "The Response," an event billed as a call to prayer for the nation, Saturday in Houston.
Texas Governor Rick Perry prays during "The Response," an event… (Richard Carson / Reuters )

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will offer greater clarity about his political future -- and potentially upstage a high-profile presidential cattle-call -- in a speech to conservative activists in South Carolina this weekend.

Politico first reported that Perry will stop short of an official declaration of a presidential campaign, but "remove any doubt" that he will join the Republican field, during the RedState Gathering in Charleston, S.C.

Following the event, he'll head to New Hampshire for an evening house party at the home of State Rep. Pamela Tucker. All the while, many of the established GOP hopefuls will be in Ames, Iowa, awaiting results of a straw poll of state Republicans.

Governor of Texas for more than a decade, Perry has been moving toward a presidential bid for months, reaching out to top activists in key early-voting states.

This weekend he hosted "The Response," an event that was billed as a nonpartisan call to prayer for a nation in peril.

Erick Erickson, organizer of the RedState Gathering, posted on his site's blog Monday afternoon that he did not know what Perry was planning to say Saturday but that if he announces, or even just "strongly hints" that he's running, "well then that’s just cool and fine with me."

Tucker, the deputy speaker of the New Hampshire House, offered to host Perry at her home during a visit to Texas last week with other New Hampshire leaders.

"Happily, this morning, I found out that he accepted," said Tucker, who said her head was "spinning" just hours after getting the news. She is anticipating about 100 guests for the invitation-only event at her Greenland home near New Hampshire’s coast. The list of attendees has not yet been set.  

Tucker said Perry would be a formidable addition to the field and that she had strongly encouraged him to get into the race: “His record on jobs is so commendable. The fact that Texas has created more jobs than the other 49 states combined is certainly something that we as a nation have to look at to see how we can turn our nation into that.”

A run by Perry could fill a void in the current field, which has neither a strong Southern contender nor a consensus conservative alternative to Romney.

"Stay tuned," said the governor's spokesman, Mark Miner, who did not deny reports that Perry would signal his intentions Saturday. Miner, in an emailed response, said Perry "continues to consider a potential run for the White House."

Paul West contributed to this report.

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