Newt Out, Perry In?

With confirmation that Gingrich's top advisers have quite en masse, this obviously means his campaign is all but done, which frankly was only a matter of time and comes as a surprise to no one. The more interesting question for 2012 is what this means for Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Sources close to Perry tell me he is now "serious" about a presidential bid. He has been talking with his big money donors for the past week, and they had a conference call on Monday to talk assembling a possible 2012 campaign.

But the rub was this: There was no way Perry would run for president without his top political consultant, Dave Carney. And it also would be nice to have his former campaign manager, Rob Johnson, on board.

Unfortunately for Perry, both of those guys were working on Gingrich 2012. Carney was advising Gingrich in New Hampshire and Johnson was Gingrich's senior political adviser. As one top Republican strategist told me on Tuesday, the canary in the coal mine for a Perry presidential run is whether Carney would leave Newt.

Now, Gingrich's entire team has up and quit. And all of a sudden Carney/Johnson are available. And Rick Perry is for real.

  • Jan Crawford On Twitter» On Facebook»

    Jan Crawford is CBS News Chief Political and Legal Correspondent. She is from "Crossroads," Alabama.

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