Anita Perry encourages husband to run for president

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on July 19, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 19 at 8:08 PM

Gov. Rick Perry will need money, organization, staff and stamina if he runs for president.

But he appears to already have the support that's most important for the race — his wife's.

Following a brief meeting on state finances Tuesday, Perry talked expansively for the first time on what his wife, Anita, has been telling him about a White House run.

“My wife was talking to me and saying: 'Listen... get out of your comfort zone. Yeah, being governor of Texas is a great job, but sometimes you're  called to step into the fray,'” the governor said.

As an experienced political wife, Anita Perry has been stepping into the fray with her husband since he ran for the Texas House in 1984.

Holding a master's degree in nursing, she worked as a nurse for 17 years.

Perry said his wife is worried how the new health care law will affect health care.

The concern about such issues as health care and federal debt, he said, spurred him into thinking about the White House.

“I will tell you that 60 days ago, this was not on my radar screen," Perry said.  " This was something that both my wife and people that I really trust who know me well... that caused me to really look at what's going on in America.”

Having family backing is perhaps a potential presidential candidate's first consideration.

Political consultant Craig Goldman of Fort Worth worked on John McCain's 2008 campaign and says Anita Perry's support is huge.

“They [spouses] are on the campaign trail as well," Goldman said. "The candidate is not going to be coming home very much between Labor Day and Election Day, so those primaries and caucuses, so you have to have your family support. They are a vital part of running for president.”

Goldman says since Mrs. Perry has weathered attacks on her husband, that's also a plus.

But the decision isn't if she wants him to run... but does he? And Perry isn't saying yet.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll out late Tuesday shows Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachman up to 16 percent support among Republican primary voters, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leading with 30 percent.

But Perry received 11 percent support in the same poll... and he's not in the race.

Not yet.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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