A couple of days after his onetime rival lost his bid for the White House, Gov. Rick Perry said he is keeping his options open for 2016.
Perry said Thursday it was still too early to make any decisions, noting that he had a busy legislative session looming in January. But, just like the day he dropped out of the 2012 race, the brash-talking Texas governor is keeping a toe in the presidential waters.
“I think we said the door was going to be left open, but there is a lot of work that has to be done,” Perry said. “2016 is multiple lifetimes away.”
Perry made his comments almost exactly one year after his famous Nov. 9 debate "Oops" moment, when he couldn’t remember the third federal department he wanted to shut down. His campaign was already struggling, but that moment helped sink his 2012 presidential aspirations. Perry dropped out of the race on Jan. 19.
On Thursday, he spoke to a group of reporters at the Texas Capitol, fielding several questions about the defeat for Mitt Romney and some Republican Senate candidates. While a lot of Republicans are engaging in some collective hand-wringing and wondering how to adapt to an electorate with more minorities, Perry suggested they should stick to their guns.
“I think it’s just important for the Republican Party to be very clear about the values whether it’s allowing people to keep more of what they work for and giving people freedom from overtaxation, overregulation, standing up for innocent life,” he said. “Frankly it doesn’t matter whether you’re Hispanic, African-American, Anglo, Asian, whatever you might be. I think those values are rather timeless.”
The governor also said he respected the rights of voters in Colorado and Washington state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. He said he opposed that for Texas but believes the 10th Amendment to the Constitution gives states the right to determine drug laws.
“States should have the freedom by the Constitution to be making these decisions,” Perry said. “You’ve got to respect the 10th Amendment.”
Already the longest-serving Texas governor by far, Perry is also considering a run for re-election in 2014, two years before the next presidential race. He says he won’t make that decision until June.
Perry has increased his visibility both on the state and national stage since the Republican primary season effectively ended this summer. According to his state and campaign offices, Perry has held at least 79 public events — defined as those to which the media was invited to attend — since Aug. 1. That includes about three dozen official state government events, several appearances for state GOP candidates and about 20 out-of-state gigs on behalf of Romney and other Republican candidates.