Texas Gov. Rick Perry pledged that "we will take America back"--but did not follow it with "by running for president"--in a speech to Manhattan Republicans Tuesday night. Interestingly, Perry was speaking as a replacement for Donald Trump, who canceled after abandoning his own GOP 2012 ambitions. Perry took the opportunity to offer "an anti-Obama, anti-Democrat stemwinder," The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg reports, touting the booming economy in Texas as evidence that there should be less federal regulation of the states.
"I find it ironic to be filling in for Donald Trump tonight," Perry said. "He's known for saying 'You're fired.' We're known for saying 'You're hired.' That's what we do in Texas." Buzz about a potential Perry campaign has been building in the past month, and intensified when candidate Newt Gingrich's campaign top staff quit--including two aides who've worked for Perry. One of them, David Carney, was at Perry's side in New York, Rutenberg reports.
But Perry is still coy about whether he'll get in the race. He told the Texas Tribune's Jay Root that "it's pretty interesting" that he's been the subject of so much presidential speculation recently. "People would like to have some other options in the race, obviously," Perry said. The Texan then told Fox News he was "giving it some serious thought."