After Texas Gov. Rick Perry's well-received speech at the Republican Leadership Conference over the weekend, his top strategist, Dave Carney, said there's a 50-50 chance Perry will run for president. A final decision, however, is "at least weeks" away, Carney added. In the meantime, Perry is putting out feelers in Iowa, talking to big-money donors, and has even scheduled a trip to the critical early primary state of South Carolina in August. The governor of the biggest red state in the nation is a popular fiscal and social conservative, and would immediately be seen as a frontrunner for the nomination, if he runs. But by delaying his decision, is Perry running out of time to mount a credible campaign? (Watch a Fox News discussion about Perry's chances.)

It's now or never: Some potential GOP candidates could wait to enter the race, but "Perry is probably not one of those people," says Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post. To be viable, he has to beat fellow social conservatives Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty in Iowa, and they are way ahead of him in organization. If Perry waits until July to even decide on the race, he may be too late to truly compete in Iowa's early-February caucuses. In that case, his "first clear shot" at a victory is South Carolina's primary. But by then, the race may be all but over.
"Rick Perry: Is delay fatal?"

Actually, there's plenty of time: "Perry in particular might be able to hem and haw a bit longer than your average presidential hopeful," says Peter Grier in The Christian Science Monitor. Newt Gingrich's former top aides are defecting to Perry, so the Texas governor already has a "shovel-ready campaign organization," and he won't have "any trouble lassoing cash." Besides, as the only real southerner, he would have home field advantage in not only South Carolina, but also delegate-rich Florida.
"Is it too late for Rick Perry to get into the presidential race?"

Forget time. Can Perry take the heat? Perry has been preparing for a White House run since 2006, says Eileen Smith in The Atlantic. But that doesn't mean he's ready for the big time. While his "disdain for the media rivals that of Sarah Palin" — he ignored the press in his 2010 re-election campaign — Perry needs more than Fox News to compete outside his fiefdom. And "he's never seen anything like the Washington press corps," which will have fun digging through his record.
"12 things Texans know about Gov. Rick Perry that you should, too"