AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry on Monday highlighted themes that he would likely unleash in a campaign against President Barack Obama, but he offered no firm clues on when — or if — he plans to climb into a race for the White House.
In what was widely interpreted as his strongest indication yet that he is moving toward a presidential run, Perry was quoted in the Des Moines Register over the weekend as saying, "I'm getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I've been called to do. This is what America needs."
But he was less definitive when asked about the comments Monday during a question-and-answer session with Texas reporters after a ceremonial bill signing in the Capitol.
"We're going through a thoughtful, steady process of making a decision, and when we make that decision, we'll let you all know," Perry said without elaborating on a possible timetable. He said he would likely call a "lengthy press conference" to detail his decision.
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Asked about the suggestion that God may be calling him to enter the race, Perry said that his religious faith "absolutely" helps guide him in his decision-making. But he also said that many of the calls for him to run are of a more secular nature.
"There's a lot of different ways to be called," Perry said. "My mother may call me for dinner. ... My friends may call me for something.
"There are people calling from all across this country, in to either me directly or to people that they know, and saying, 'Man we wish you would consider doing this,'" the governor added.
Austin attorney Bill Crocker, Republican National Committee representative who has been encouraging Perry to enter the race, said he believes "the odds are that he will run."
But Crocker acknowledged that Perry is probably "the only one who knows what he's ultimately going to do."
Perry appeared at public events Monday that offered him the opportunity to bash the federal government and Obama's Democratic administration.
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