Texas Governor Rick Perry has yet to officially jump into the 2012 presidential race, but in a recent Time interview, he affirmed that at the very least he wants to run - and that he's "calm in his heart that this is what I'm supposed to be doing."
Speculation of a Perry presidential bid has been building for weeks - and many expect him to make his decision clear in remarks this weekend in South Carolina.
In the meantime, however, the conservative Texan is hardly masking his apparent ambitions: When asked by Time's Mark Halperin if there was an "open question" about whether or not he planned to run, Perry suggested he had already made up his mind in the affirmative.
"I wouldn't be this far into the process.... The issue of, 'is this what I want to do?' was dealt with about 45 days ago in a conversation with my wife," he told Halperin. "Prior to that, no. Being the President of the United States was not on my radar screen from the standpoint of something I wanted to do."
But now, he says, he's "getting to the haul-in point and the idea that, this is what I'm supposed to be doing."
"I mean, this is starting to get to that comfort level and I've got the calmness in my heart," Perry continued. "I think that was a bit of a hurdle initially, but I'm very calm in my heart that this is what I'm supposed to be doing."
Perry is expected to become an immediate frontrunner for the GOP nomination if he enters the race, in part because he has support from both the Republican establishment and fiscal and social conservatives.
The longtime Texas governor noted, too, that former President George W. Bush - who preceded Perry as Texas gov. - has been advising him on the decision.
"He said, 'You'll do what's right,'" Perry said, of a June conversation with the former president. "He said, you don't want to wake up when you're 70 and go, 'I wish I had tried that. I wish I had done that.'"
Questioned about the strength of his conservative credentials, Perry said he didn't think there was "any doubt" that he was at least as conservative as every other candidate in the race - if not more so.
"I've got a record. And that record, particularly when it comes to the most important issues in this campaign, which is creating the climate of America that gives incentives to job creators to risk their capital and create jobs for our citizens, I will put that up against anybody who's running and particularly against this President we have today, whose jobs record is abysmal," he said.
Perry also conceded that it would be "quite competitive" attempting to fundraise against President Obama, but said that he's "not a bit" intimidated by that hurdle.