AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry is talking about his failed presidential bid.
He admitted to WFAA in one of his first Texas TV interviews that he wasn't ready to run for the White House. And surprisingly, he doesn't consider his "oops" moment during the November 9 debate his worst among the debates.
In the same Texas Capitol office where he finally indicated last May he was thinking of running for president, Perry said he's glad he did.
"Was it trying? Was it difficult? Was it a test? Absolutely... all of the above... but I wouldn't trade anything for it," he said.
Perry said he's pleased he added issues such as the flat tax and 10th Amendment to the presidential campaign debate. Looking back, however, Perry said he should have jumped in "substantially earlier" and not six weeks after back surgery.
The governor implied he just wasn't prepared for the scrutiny... and the debates.
"Preparation for the campaign was very different, and I'm not sure anybody was prepared — with the possible exception of Mitt [Romney], who's been running for president for five or six years," Perry said.
Voters likely remember Perry's "oops" moment when he could not remember the three federal agencies he had earlier said he would abolish as president. Perry's explanation: "Look, any of us have forgotten something."
But Perry says more damaging, in his view was his response to backing state tuition for illegal immigrants at the Orlando debate in September.
"That was a huge error in telling people that they didn't have a heart," he said. "And frankly, that wasn't about a 'heart' issue, it was about an economic issue. And that should've been explained, and I didn't do it, and that was my bad."
Looking forward, Perry said he may run for re-election as governor, "but it's an option, so we keep it open."
When asked if there's a better than 50-50 chance he'll run for re-election, Perry said: "I'm not going to get in that handicapping business."
Gov. Perry said he may run even for president again. "There have been a substantial number of them that ran and did not win and then came back," he said, adding that he has no interest in being someone's running mate.
"Yeah, that's a no," Perry said.
But the governor indicated he would back Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney as the Republican presidential nominee — even though he criticized all of them as a candidate.
Perry's attacks on Romney were especially tough in September and October. But now, Perry said, a match-up between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is "not even close," in his view.
Perry is set to tackle water, electric power generation and school finance in next year's legislative session. He also says the state will have a new lieutenant governor — an obvious nod that he thinks current Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will be elected to the U.S. Senate.
For those demanding a special session before then to restore school funding cuts with rainy day fund money, Perry says "no."
Watch the entire interview with Gov. Rick Perry on the next edition of Inside Texas Politics, Sunday morning at 9 o'clock on WFAA Channel 8.