Pro-Rick Perry group preps for Iowa straw poll

This May 23, 2011 photo shows Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaking before ceremonially signing a bill in Austin, Texas. Perry says he'll consider seeking the Republican nomination for president. Perry reversed course Friday, May 27, 2011 after saying for months he wasn't interesting in running for the White House. He said he will decide whether to enter the race after the Texas Legislature adjourns Monday.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
AP Photo/Harry Cabluck, Pool
Texas Gov. Rick Perry still isn't saying whether or not he plans to enter the 2012 presidential race, but a new report suggests his backers are setting the stage for him in Iowa anyway.

According to a report by Real Clear Politics' Scott Conroy, a 527 Group called Americans for Rick Perry is setting up campaign headquarters in Iowa this week in advance of the influential Ames Straw Poll in Iowa.

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Perry is not technically registered for the August 13 event, but RCP reports that the Iowa branch of Americans for Rick Perry - which does not have contact with the prospective candidate - is preparing for him to have a "significant presence" there.

"Our goal is to share information both before and during the event about Governor Perry's record and to continue to generate enthusiasm if he runs for president," Craig Schoenfeld, the group's executive director in Iowa, told RCP.

The Texas conservative appears to be inching toward a decision as to a prospective candidacy - and signs seem to suggest that he's leaning toward a bid.

Perry has made multiple appearances in Iowa over the last several weeks, and is said to be testing support among Republican party operatives there. He has also been playing up his conservative credentials in the crucial early-primary state - which famously favors Republican candidates with strong social conservative values.

In an interview over the weekend, Perry said he was starting to get "comfortable" with the idea that he was being "called" to a greater good.

"I'm not ready to tell you that I'm ready to announce that I'm in," Perry said, "but I'm getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I've been called to do. This is what America needs."

When asked about the remarks on Monday, Perry seemed to minimize their religious implications, noting that "there's a lot of different ways to be called."

"My mother may call me for dinner," he joked. "My friends may call me for something. There are people calling from all across this country ... and saying, 'Man, we wish you would consider doing this."

But the Texas Republican went on to reiterate his religious commitment, and maintained that he was not backing away from his previous comments.

"Oh no, no, no, no. I don't ever get confused about that. I am a man of faith," Perry told reporters, according to reports from the Houston Chronicle. "Do I look for signs and do I look for good Scripture that tells me how to live my life? Absolutely I do that."

As to whether or not he was going to run, Perry said he was in the "thoughtful, steady process of making a decision." He is expected to announce that decision next month.

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