Texas Gov. Rick Perry, buoyed by his packed prayer convention called "The Response" last weekend, is now turning to the 2012 GOP presidential primaries and a key adviser tells Whispers that he plans to get in as early as Sunday.
"He will be in the race within seven to 14 days," the adviser tells Whispers.
That fits with the earlier time line we reported in a previous Washington Whisper Should he decide to enter as early as this weekend, it would likely shake up the moribund GOP primaries and effectively erase any impact the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll will have on Saturday.
For about a month as he has become more serious about entering the race, Perry has been huddling with outside advisers and pundits to discuss the race. He plans to follow that practice up to Labor Day even if he gets in sooner, says the adviser. [See a slide show of the 2012 GOP candidates.]
What has delayed his entry has been organizing a staff, readying fund raising and "The Response," which won tons of media coverage—not all friendly—over the weekend. Associates said it gave Perry a chance to reach out to evangelicals and conservatives and they gave him credit for doing so in a sober way.
Tea Party officials and several conservative leaders have indicated that once in, they will back Perry who already ranks in the top three in most polls of those Republicans back. The others are Mitt Romney and Rep. Michele Bachmann.