Rick Perry will not seek a fourth term as Texas governor, he announced this afternoon. He will spend the next 18 months "working to create more jobs" and will "pray and reflect and work to determine my own future path," he said.
He did not rule out another run for president, and the speech -- which focused largely on what he called "the strongest economy in the country" -- had that ol' Perry-as-candidate feel we've missed so much since he oopsed out of the 2012 Republican primary.
Perry, 63, made the announcement at a San Antonio Caterpillar dealership, either because he thought it had a cool metamorphosis-analogy thing goin' there or because it's owned by a big donor. (Update: It was the donor thing). The decision comes on the heels of a poll that seemed to indicate some Perry-related fatigue among the electorate.
In the days and weeks leading up to today's reveal, Perry seemed to be trying to tie his future to the abortion issue, quickly calling for a second special session to pass some of the country's toughest restrictions and going on Fox News to predict their passing. But today's speech focused heavily on the economy. His biggest applause break came when he bragged that he has "stopped all major tax hikes and kept the overall tax burden among the lowest in the nation."
"Texas is the new frontier," he said. "Texas is better positioned to take advantage of new economic opportunities than any other state."
But, he said, it was time for someone else -- he mentioned no names, of course -- to lead the state in seizing those opportunities. His time has simply come, he said, just like in the Book of Ecclesiastes, which he quoted at length:
"A time to be born, and a time to die, and a time to figure out these Super PAC things."
See also: Rick Perry's Manufactured Miracle