AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry, who is contemplating a run for the presidency, indicated Tuesday that he has no interest in the nation’s number two job. “John Nance Garner had a pretty good handle on that,” Perry told reporters.
Garner, a Texan who served as vice-president under President Franklin Roosevelt, has been repeatedly quoted as describing the vice presidency as “not worth a bucket of warm spit.” Political lore has it that the rough-hewn Texan, nicknamed “Cactus Jack,” actually used an earthier expression to describe his contempt for the office.
Perry said he would prefer to remain governor of the nation’s second largest state rather than serve as vice president. “You kind of go, vice president, governor of Texas,” he said, using his hands to balance the options.
Perry also offered new details on the role Texas First Lady Anita Perry is playing in his presidential decision-making, describing her as one of the leaders among those urging him to consider the race. He said the first lady told him that it “may be time to get out of your comfort zone” as Texas governor to tackle the nation’s problems.
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Rick Perry and Anita Thigpen met at a piano recital during their elementary school years in West Texas, according to the governor’s online biography. They were married in 1982 and have two grown children.
The governor said Anita Perry, a former nurse and the daughter of a physician the governor described as “an old country doctor,” is particularly concerned about the nation’s healthcare problems. Gov. Perry has been an outspoken critic of the federal health care law, describing it as “Obama-care” and saying it would cost Texas at least $27 billion over the next ten years.
As many as two dozen national Republican fund-raisers gathered in Austin on Tuesday to hold private discussions on whether Perry, who would be considered a late-starter if he runs, can raise enough money to finance a winning campaign. Perry said he planned “a dinner-meeting” with the fundraisers to review their assessments.
Perry said he wanted to be sure there will be enough resources available so “you don’t run out there and embarrass yourself” or those supporting his candidacy.
After months of dismissing any interest in the race, Perry has been seriously evaluating a potential candidacy since the Texas Legislature adjourned several weeks ago. Perry has also made calls to political leaders in key states and said he has received an “overwhelming response” from those urging him to enter the race.
“Sixty days ago, this was not on my radar screen,” he said.