Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) sounds like he's moving closer to a presidential run, telling ABC News Wednesday that he sees a "big opportunity" ahead in 2012 and that a decision is coming soon.

"I think these are interesting times, and you always want to look at where you can best serve your country and make a difference and obviously there's a big opportunity on the national field," Thune said. 

As for his timeframe, "It won't be long," Thune said. "We realize that if you're going to do this, you have to get moving. The clock is ticking."  

Thune is also getting a boost from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). In an interview with MSNBC Wednesday, McConnell spoke highly of Thune, but said he isn't offering an endorsement just yet. 

"I wouldn't give him that handicap," McConnell joked. 

According to ABC News, the Republican leader in the Senate may also be doing some work in Washington behind the scenes on behalf of Thune. 

(h/t GOP 12)