Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry says he is open to sending American troops to Mexico to help battle drug cartels.

Perry, the Texas governor, likens the situation to Colombia, where the government accepted American military support in battling the war on drugs.

Perry says the current violence may require similar military action.

He often calls for more National Guard troops to help protect the Mexican border and stem the flow of illegal immigration. But Saturday's comments go further. They indicate he's open to deepening America's military involvement across the border.

Perry's comments came at a Saturday afternoon reception at the home of New Hampshire Republican gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne.

A spokesman later clarified that Perry is open to all options to cooperate with Mexico.