AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday that he continues to flirt with the idea of running for president and has received renewed pressure in recent weeks to enter the race for the Republican nomination.
The three-term governor said during a Fox News interview that, in the past six weeks, he has had "a number of conversations with people I trust, including my wife, who basically said, 'Listen. Our country's in trouble, and you need to give this a second thought.'"
He said he needs to go through "a thought process," including the cost the presidency would exact on his family, before deciding whether to run.
"We have some time," Perry said. "I'm not sure you have to make a decision in a month."
Perry has fanned speculation he'll join the 2012 GOP race. Perry's closest advisers say he has no intention of running, but last month Perry said he was "going to think about it."
Perry would bring conservative bona fides, a proven fundraising record and a fresh voice to a field in which many conservatives are looking for an alternative to front-runner Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor is making his second bid for the GOP nomination.
Several high-level staffers also recently left Newt Gingrich's campaign. A few of them previously worked for Perry in Texas, fueling speculation they would return to help him run a national campaign.
Perry's interview touched on several of his longstanding campaign themes in Texas: job creation, cutting regulations on business and low taxes. The governor also took a swipe at the sexting scandal rocking congressional Democrats in which Rep. Anthony Weiner sent lewd photos of himself and messages to several women.
Asked whether Weiner should resign, Perry called him a "sick fella who made some really bad decisions."
Perry said politicians and public officials should be held to higher standards than others and that if he was president and one of his Cabinet members did the same thing, he would "most likely" ask that person to resign.
"We have moral rules we live with every day, we have rules of conduct every day," Perry said. "It's like that definition of pornography: I know it when I see it."
Perry also was asked whether Republicans should reach out to Hispanics on immigration enforcement issues.
"I think the Hispanic population in the country is no different from the Anglo population or the Asian population," he said. "They want to live in a state where they can be free from overtaxation (and) overlitigation. They want to be able to have good schools for their kids and have a wide-open future. That's what the Republican Party is all about."
Responding to a suggestion that he was more popular outside Texas than within it, Perry said that "a prophet is generally not loved in his hometown."
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