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Texas Gov. Rick Perry says, "I'm gonna think about it," regarding a run for president in 2012, reports the Austin-American Statesman's Jason Embry. Perry has long denied he had any interest in a presidential campaign, but his circle has hinted at a run in recent days, following Mitch Daniels' decision to sit out the race.

Perry is a well-coifed outspoken conservative--he flirted with the idea of Texas seceeding from the Union in 2009. And he made his presidential musings known Friday at a signing ceremony for a law that requires a photo ID to vote--a pet issue of conservatives who are concerned about voter fraud. Mother Jones's Josh Harkison explains why the Tea Party likes him so much:

"Ever since his January inauguration speech, which sounded like a national political ad, the tea party's favorite rainmaker has been hinting at larger ambitions. There were the broadsides of Barack Obama. The lighthearted talk-show appearances...

Four short years after George W. Bush seemingly poisoned the Texas political well, Perry has emerged as a tea party hero by practicing a form of small-government fundamentalism that makes Bush look like a moderate. Facing a $27 billion budget shortfall, Perry pushed to eviscerate funding for the state's overburdened schools and social services instead of raising taxes or even tapping the state's $9.4 billion Rainy Day Fund. He has redefined fiscal conservatism to mean not spending crisis money at a time of crisis."

On the other hand, this week a poll found just 4 percent of Texans would support him if he ran for president.

Update: On the other hand: Perry's spokesman Mark Miner told National Journal's Kathy Kiely that, "Nothing has changed...  The governor has no intention of running for president."

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