Rick Perry: 'I stepped right in it'

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said he "stepped right in it" when he recently compared homosexuality to alcoholism.

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"When you get distracted, I'm thinking San Francisco. I got asked about issues and instead of saying 'you know what, we need to be a really respectful and tolerant country to everybody,' and get back to talking about, whether you're gay or straight, you need to be having a job, and those are the focuses that I want to be involved with," he said at a luncheon hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. "I readily admit, I stepped right in it."

Perry, a former 2012 presidential candidate who's eyeing another bid, compared homosexuality to alcoholism last week in San Francisco.

"Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that," he said. "I may have the genetic coding that I'm inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way."

The remarks stirred widespread controversy and led to a CNBC host upbraiding him on-air earlier this week.

Perry hasn't shied away from social issues in the past — one of his final White House campaign commercials in 2012 focused on gay marriage — but he clearly didn't want to discuss social issues on Wednesday.

"If you're really going to be the party that's going to talk to everybody, and say 'listen, you may not agree with all of my positions but giving you and your family and your loved ones the opportunity to live a better life because we've created a climate in this country where you're going to have a job and a good job and a good-paying job, if we do that then I think we'll be successful," he said, warning against the GOP spending "all of our time being deflected over on this social issue or that social issue."

Perry indicated strongly that he's leaning toward another run for president. He'll have to overcome a 2012 campaign experience that he called "humbling" and "painful" that was capped off by his infamous "oops" moment, as well as avoid comments like last week's, which reinforce that the verbal misstep wasn't an outlier.