Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) talked to former President George W. Bush last month about possibly running for president.
In an interview with Time magazine, Perry, who's set to make an announcement about entering the race this weekend in South Carolina, said he has decided he wants to be president. And he said his predecessor in Texas governor prodded him toward running.
" 'You’ll do what’s right,' " Perry said Bush had told him when Perry called the former president on his birthday. "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.' "
"I went from 'No, got the best job in America' to today being fully engaged in this process," Perry said. "The issue of 'Is this something I want to do?' was something dealt with 45 days ago in a conversation with my wife."
The entry of Perry into the race would radically change a GOP presidential primary that so far has seen former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney emerge as the front-runner. Polls suggest Rep. Michele BachmannMichele BachmannLobbying world Trump camp reassures pastors after abortion ruling Falwell faces flak for posing with Trump in front of Playboy MORE (R-Minn.) has emerged as a conservative rival, but doubts persist over whether the firebrand could beat Romney in the primary or President Obama in the general election.
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Perry took over as governor when Bush was elected president, and could retread Bush's footsteps if he decides to formally enter the race, a likely prospect.
Perry talked up his chances as a presidential contender, arguing that he doesn't think there's "any doubt" he would be the most conservative candidate in the race.
Perry said he saw jobs as the No. 1 issue and that his record as governor would carry over well nationwide.
"Now, I’m enough of a realist to know that California is a pretty high hurdle for a Republican," he said. "But I’m going to go out there and I’m going to have a story that’ll [make] a lot of people — independents and maybe even some Democrats — look at me and go, 'That’s the type of individual that we can get behind. You know to make America proud of itself again.' "
The biggest challenge for Perry could be whether the country is ready for another president from Texas so soon after the Bush years.