The Daily Caller noticed a few days ago that his team hadn’t done anything in Iowa yet, but Perry’s big advantage in having poached Gingrich’s top advisors is that they’d already done work there for Newt. His campaign comes prefab to some extent, in other words; all he has to do is start putting together the pieces that exist.

And here he goes:

Perry’s chief consultant Dave Carney acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that he was making inquiries about the political landscape, the caucus process and potential staff in Iowa…

“If you’re going to compete in Iowa, that’s an expensive proposition. You have to have a big field presence there. You have to spend a lot of time there. If you’re going to spend a lot of time there, you have to spend a lot of other time raising money elsewhere,” Carney told The AP. “We’re not trying to fool ourselves or anybody else.”…

“That’s a big thing we’re going to have to discuss with folks in Iowa — about the straw poll. How much time there is to be competitive,” Carney said. “All that kind of stuff are things we’re going to start putting together and compiling so the governor can make an intelligent decision.”…

Perry has not been to Iowa since the 2008 campaign when he campaigned in the state for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. And don’t expect him to show up before early July. He is scheduled to undergo minor surgery to repair a back ailment on July 1, Perry’s spokeswoman said Friday.

Perry plans to start dialing Iowa GOP bigwigs after Texas’s legislative session ends later this month and don’t forget that he’s got that huge prayer event scheduled for a week before the straw poll, which could help him surge late with the state’s social cons. And he does have a huge opening right now thanks to Bachmann and Pawlenty. Still, seven weeks from the start of July until Ames isn’t much time to go from nonentity to contender. The straw poll doesn’t mean everything (Mitt won it in 2008 and then lost the caucuses to Huckabee), but for a much-hyped guy like Perry who’s preparing to make a Thompson-esque splashy late entry, the results will be used by the media as an early read on his chances. If he flames out, the narrative that he’s a bust will take hold and he’ll have problems trying to come back to win the caucuses. In fact, I wonder if that’s figuring into Palin’s calculations too. Given her name recognition and the social-con base in Iowa, anything less than a clear win at Ames will be used by the media to pronounce her campaign DOA. Maybe she’s better off waiting until late August to get in so that she doesn’t have to deal with it. I’m sure both he and Palin would each prefer to let the other go first in declaring too so that they can watch the reception and have a better sense of whether there’s still room left in the field. One of them will have to bite the bullet and it’ll probably be Perry, but that’s a huge risk for him when he does: Even in Texas, she polls a few points ahead of him. (Obligatory caveat: That poll has an eight percent(!) margin of error.)

Via Politico, here’s his message to conservative bloggers that’ll air tonight at the Right Online conference. The Perry skeptics out there might enjoy this critique at TNR by lefty Ed Kilgore, who argues that RP has always been more lucky than good and isn’t held in especially high regard by Texas Republicans despite his long tenure as governor. Perry fans are invited to direct their angry e-mail responses to Kilgore, not me.