Texas Gov. Rick Perry offered the strongest signal yet Tuesday that he will mount a presidential campaign, saying he's now giving the 2012 contest "appropriate thought" (see video below).
"Six weeks ago, this was not on my radar screen," Perry told Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto in a live interview. But at the urging of a number of people, including his wife, he agreed to give the race a second look.
"We're giving it the appropriate thought process. I'd hate to be pointing to a time specific, even if we decide to get in," he said.
Perry is the longest-serving governor in Texas history, taking office in 2000 when then-President-elect George W. Bush resigned. He was elected to his third full term last November, and now chairs the Republican Governors Assn.
In the interview Tuesday, he made an economic case against President Obama, saying he is "anti-jobs." In Texas, meanwhile, "the results are pretty hard to argue. We created more jobs than any other state in the nation over the last decade," he said.
Perry had repeatedly denied interest in the race earlier this year as he promoted a new book, "Fed Up: Our Fight to Save America from Washington." But his renewed interest is likely driven by an opening he sees in the GOP field as other leading Republicans backed out.
A number of Perry advisers had signed on to Newt Gingrich's campaign when he entered the race last month. The mass resignation of much of the former House speaker's team last week was seen as further evidence Perry was building toward a run of his own.
Perry declined to weigh in on Monday's GOP debate, saying he "was watching the Texas Aggies" play for a spot in the College World Series.