Rick Perry says his wife wants him to run for president

Holly Bailey

If Rick Perry decides to run for president, his wife won't stand in his way.

The Texas governor told reporters this week his wife, Anita, is encouraging him to jump into the 2012 race.

"My wife was talking to me and saying: 'Listen, get out of your comfort zone. Yeah, being governor of Texas is a great job, but sometimes you're called to step into the fray,'" Perry said, per Dallas's WFAA-TV.

That's a major step for Perry's increasingly likely White House bid, given that political spouses don't always welcome the scrutiny and stress of a national campaign.

Earlier this year, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels bypassed a 2012 bid, largely because his wife, Cheri, was wary of press scrutiny on their past marital woes. South Dakota Sen. John Thune also skipped the race, in part because of his wife's concerns about the stress of a campaign on their marriage.

But as WFAA notes, Anita Perry is a skilled political wife, who has campaigned with her husband since he first ran for the Texas state House back in 1984. Over the years, she's weathered plenty of rumors about the state of her marriage, including speculation that her husband is gay and cheated on her with a member of his administration--a story the Perrys have strongly and repeatedly denied.

Last month, Dave Carney, a top Perry strategist, told Politico they are prepared to combat "the false and misleading rumors" again if his boss launches a 2012 bid. But it's Anita Perry's willingness to support her husband's potential candidacy that will likely say more to voters than strategist pushback ever will.