Rick Perry clarifies statement that he feels ‘called’ to run for president

Holly Bailey

Rick Perry appeared to downplay his statement that he feels "called" to run for president Monday, after reporters questioned who exactly is making that call.

In a news conference Monday, the Texas governor insisted he wasn't using the word "called" in a religious context and suggested he's getting encouragement from all over to make a 2012 bid.

"There's a lot of different ways to be called," Perry said, per the Austin American Statesman. "My mother may call me for dinner. My friends may call me for something. There are people that are calling from all across this country into either me directly or to people that they know and saying, 'Man, we wish you would consider doing this.'"

But Perry, an evangelical Christian, insisted he wasn't trying to downplay the role his faith is playing in his decision about whether or not to seek the GOP nomination.

"I am a man of faith.  I don't make any apologies about my faithfulness and the fact of the matter is I think anyone who goes through life without having that foundation of faith, you know I don't know how they do it.  I couldn't," Perry said. "So the idea 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 The Ticket reported Monday, Perry told the Des Moines Register in an interview published Sunday that he increasingly feels "called" to seek the presidency.

"I'm not ready to tell you that I'm ready to announce that I'm in," Perry told the Register. "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."

On Monday, Perry dialed back a bit, telling reporters he's engaged in a "thoughtful, steady process of making a decision." Yet his comments come amid reports that several of his top fundraisers are set to gather in Austin today to plot out a financial path to his increasingly likely 2012 bid.

In related news, an outside group advocating for a Perry run is reportedly planning to open an office in Iowa. As Real Clear Politics' Scott Conroy reports, Americans for Rick Perry will open in office outside Des Moines this week ahead of next month's Iowa straw poll, where the group is pressing to get the governor's name on the ballot.