Texas governor says presidential chatter not distracting

Reuters News
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Posted: May 19, 2011 5:01 PM
Texas governor says presidential chatter not distracting

By Corrie MacLaggan

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas Governor Rick Perry said on Thursday that he tries not to get distracted by speculation about whether he will run for president.

Asked whether the attention is flattering, Perry told reporters in Austin: "I've got a legislative session that is substantially more important to the people of the state of Texas and to me to get distracted by any talk, whether it's what you would call flattering or whether it's what I would call maybe not so flattering." Texas' legislative session ends May 30.

Perry, speaking after a speech to the Austin Technology Council's CEO Summit, has been mentioned again recently as someone who should be encouraged to get into the Republican presidential race.

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh spoke extensively Wednesday on his show about how Perry "has the potential to light this up" -- and how he has great hair. Also this week, RealClearPolitics.com ran a story with the headline "Rick Perry Presidential Push Quietly Gains Steam."

And on a new "Draft Rick Perry 2012" website, California State Assemblyman Dan Logue said that he and several other Republican lawmakers in that state are working to encourage Perry to run.

"If we can get Governor Perry in Washington instead of Texas he will no longer recruit businesses from California but he will recruit jobs back to America from China and India and put America, not just Texas, back to work," Logue, who recently met with Perry in Texas, wrote on draftperry2012.com

Perry, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, has repeatedly said he is not running for president.

But with Republicans such as former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour saying they will not be part of the 2012 Republican field, some Republicans may take a fresh look at the governor from Texas.

Perry, the longest-serving governor in Lone Star State history, moved up from lieutenant governor in 2000, replacing then-Governor and President-elect George W. Bush.

He frequently sounds national themes. In the fall, Perry published a book about states' rights called "Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington."

"Cynics will say that I decided to write this book because I seek higher office," Perry wrote in the book. "They are wrong: I already have the best job in America."

(Editing by Greg McCune)