The Rick-Perry-for-President slow drip is on the verge of bursting like a geyser. [SEE UPDATE II -- Perry is getting in on Saturday] A source close to Perry's camp tells The Fix the big moment many pundits have been buzzing about for months is now just days away:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is expected to announce his presidential plans shortly after the Ames Straw Poll this coming weekend, and his supporters are already soliciting contributions for the campaign, according to an e-mail from a Perry supporter. The e-mail from Gene Powell, a real-estate executive who Perry appointed to the University of Texas board of regents, states, “We expect that announcement in a week to ten days” and tells people to start writing checks today.
It is further evidence that Perry is truly ramping up for a 2012 presidential campaign, even though a top Perry adviser says the e-mail’s timeframe isn’t hard and fast. Perry adviser David Carney told The Fix that the no one should read too much into the e-mail, which he says contains some factual inaccuracies.
Perry is coming off a "controversial" appearance at an evangelical Christian gathering in Houston last weekend that has the secular Left sputtering with rage. (Watch his rather non-controversial remarks HERE). Perry's sins are apparently espousing and affirming his Christianity in public, and attending an event with which some fringe characters are loosely associated. Interestingly, controversial associations didn't seem to bother liberals a few years ago. For a primer on what really scares Democrats about Rick Perry, follow the link.
I'll end on an intriguing note: Ed Morrissey notices the Iowa GOP has announced that an unnamed "special guest" will appear at Thursday night's Fox News debate. (Incidentally, Ed, Tina Korbe, and I will be in Ames to cover both the debate and the subsequent straw poll). Could this mystery guest be a certain soon-to-be-entrant into the field? Drama! (Flash: The special guest will be RNC Chairman Reince Priebus).
UPDATE - Bryan Preston highlights a web spot produced by Students for Rick Perry, which builds the case for the Texas Governor in less than four minutes. The music is a bit dramatic, and the video probably could have been shaved down by a solid minute, but it's worth the three-plus minutes. Whereas President Obama is desperately flailing for a jobs pivot, Perry's governed a veritable jobs factory for the last ten years. The Lone Star State is almost singlehandedly keeping the US economy afloat. Think I'm overreaching with that statement? Just watch:
UPDATE II - Politico now reports Perry will announce his intention to run for president on Saturday, which could very well overshadow the results of the Ames straw poll. As Allahpundit deduces, this move seems at least somewhat calculated to box out Michele Bachmann, and blunt some of the positive press she'd receive from a strong performance in Iowa. Strategery:
Rick Perry intends to use a speech in South Carolina on Saturday to make clear that he's running for president, POLITICO has learned. According to two sources familiar with the plan, the Texas governor will remove any doubt about his White House intentions during his appearance at a RedState conference in Charleston.
It's uncertain whether Saturday will mark a formal declaration, but Perry's decision to disclose his intentions the same day as the Ames straw poll — and then hours later make his first trip to New Hampshire — will send shock waves through the race and upend whatever results come out of the straw poll. Immediately following his speech in South Carolina, Perry will make his New Hampshire debut at a house party at the Portsmouth-area home of a state representative, Pamela Tucker, the Union Leader reported Monday. Tucker was among the Granite Staters who went to Texas last week to encourage Perry to run.
UPDATE III - Here's an ad from a pro-Perry PAC that's actually airing in Iowa ahead of the straw poll -- even though Perry won't be participating: