Texas Gov. Perry Ratchets Up Conservative Credentials In the past two weeks, Rick Perry has gone from ridiculing journalists' questions about a possible run for president to openly considering it. Perry is known as a fiscal conservative first and a social conservative second. But lately he has made a concerted effort to burnish his social conservative credentials.
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Texas Gov. Perry Ratchets Up Conservative Credentials

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Texas Gov. Perry Ratchets Up Conservative Credentials

Texas Gov. Perry Ratchets Up Conservative Credentials

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RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

But as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports, he is capturing more and more attention.

WADE GOODWYN: Could Rick Perry be the next Texas governor to be president of the United States?

RICK PERRY: Buenos dias, Los Angeles.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

GOODWYN: This last week in Los Angeles, speaking before a group of pro-life Hispanics, he sure sounded like a candidate.

PERRY: Within the first week in office, President Obama, he chose to overturn the Mexico City Policy, which basically means that your federal tax dollars can now be used to fund abortions all over the world.

GOODWYN: Rick Perry started out his political life as a Texas Democrat. But as Texas has moved further to the right, so has Perry. And in the last year, he's become a favorite among Tea Party supporters around the country. In the last two weeks, the governor has gone from ridiculing journalists' questions about a possible run for presidency to openly considering it.

PERRY: I'm going to think about it. I'm going to think about it.

GOODWYN: Last week he announced a day of prayer and fasting at Reliant Stadium in Houston and invited the nation's governors to attend. For this event, Perry is partnering with the Christian advocacy group the American Family Association, known for its strong opposition to gay rights.

BRUCE BUCHANAN: He's got access to the money, pretty good on the stump. He's got the kind of policy positions and track record that appeals to the Republican financers and the Republican primary electorate.

GOODWYN: Bruce Buchanan is a political science professor at the University of Texas who specializes in presidential politics. Buchanan wonders, could another Texas governor be elected president so soon after George W. Bush? How about a candidate as right wing as Rick Perry?

BUCHANAN: The Republican Party itself is right now trying to decide whether it wants to be a party that is ideologically pure or one that could have a chance to beat Obama. Perry thinks he can address that but I think he's going to have his hands full trying to address that, given his policy stances.

GOODWYN: Buchanan wonders if Perry truly would want to trade his good life in Austin for the big time in Washington, D.C. After all, it didn't work out so well for his predecessor.

BUCHANAN: Right now, everybody's eager to talk to him. He's a hero. He gets all kinds of publicity. This might set him up for a better chance to win in 2016 than any Republican might have in 2012.

GOODWYN: Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas.

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