Politics & Government

Perry 2012 bid speculation fueled by Gingrich shake-ups

Speculation that Gov. Rick Perry might run for president reached a fever pitch Thursday when several key aides to Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign quit, including two key former members of Perry's political team.

Rick Tyler, Gingrich's spokesman, said that he, campaign manager Rob Johnson and senior strategists had all quit, along with aides in the early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Johnson and consultant Dave Carney, who also resigned, previously had similar roles with Perry.

Perry's spokesman, Mark Miner, said the turnover in Gingrich's campaign doesn't signal a shift in Perry's position, which is that he's still thinking about a run for president.

"Nothing's changed," Miner said. "He remains focused on the legislative session."

But CBS News reported that Perry is apparently "serious" about making a run for the White House and that he has been talking with financial backers for the past week on a possible bid.

"The CBS report is not true," Miner said.

The news came less than a day after The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal posted stories online on Republicans' growing interest in seeing Perry run for president. The Post quoted someone "close to Perry" as saying, "I don't want to do this without Carney."

Miner declined to comment on any private conversations that Carney or Johnson may have had with Perry before resigning from Gingrich's campaign.

Carney, a longtime New Hampshire-based Republican who worked on Bob Dole's 1996 presidential run, was linked to Gingrich's campaign in May.

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