Governor Rick Perry's speech at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference has national media pundits talking about Perry for president in 2012.
In the high wattage remarks (which are embedded below), the governor cast the current political dynamic in America as a "struggle between socialism and democracy".
"This country is tilted in the wrong direction," he said.
The speech actually recycled a lot of lines he's used dozens of times - the one about how you don't have to be a phD from Harvard to know how to stop spending the money, the four Perry principles of good governance, and the California needs to take a lesson from Texas favorite. The audience, made up of conservatives from across the South, ate it up. The loudest cheers came toward the end, when Perry invoked the tea party movement as evidence of the great resurgence of the conservative movement.
Perry, who's facing Democrat and former Houston Mayor Bill White in the governor's race this fall, also sought to take one of White's strengths - Houston's mobilization to take in Katrina evacuees - and make it his own.
"[Then-Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco] said, Would you agree to take some people from Louisiana? And I told her, I said, bring 'em on. Bring 'em on to the state of Texas," Perry recalled. "It's amazing how many people who came over... saw what a great place Texas was."
UPDATE: White campaign spokesperson Katy Bacon responded to swirling speculation around Perry with this comment:
"It's never been more clear than it was today that Bill White is focused on Texas' future while Rick Perry is focused on his political career. Bill White spent his day meeting with Farm Bureau leadership and the Chamber of Commerce in Waco. Rick Perry spent his day campaigning in Louisiana, talking about Washington. No wonder national media is buzzing about Rick Perry's presidential possibilities."