A preview of Rick Perry’s energy development plan and his interview on “Good Morning America” this morning remind me why I still like the guy. He’s made his fair share of mistakes on the campaign trail so far, that’s for sure, but, then, which candidate hasn’t? (Mitt Romney, maybe, but an errorless campaign is the whole substance of his strategy and its effectiveness is debatable.) For the most part, Perry still has the right ideas and the right priorities to ensure that the U.S. follows Texas’ lead to create the jobs the nation so desperately needs right now.

His wife stole the spotlight last night when she claimed her husband has suffered in the polls because of his Christian faith. Perry didn’t disavow her comments this morning on GMA — but he managed to make them sound a whole lot less, well, desperate. Instead, he used them as a platform to reiterate: Yes, I am a conservative. Yes, I am a Christian. My wife is right.

It’s as if Perry, at least, gets it that, far from harming his chances in a GOP primary, his Christian conservatism would help him — if he would just tout it by clearly articulating his policy views and — in the vein of Herman Cain — not play the victim card. No more “heartless” comments, Mr. Perry. No more defensive, disconnected debate performances.

Impressively, he’s not defensive with George Stephanopoulos at all — and you can bet the ABC anchor’s political views are far less in alignment with Perry’s than his GOP competitors. The lower third that spans the screen of the interview says, “Perry’s defense,” but Perry sounds laid-back and likable through the entire exchange. He patiently answers every question and doesn’t succumb to the temptation Stephanopoulos offers to personally criticize his wife, Herman Cain or Robert Jeffress. The Texas governor does criticize Cain’s 9-9-9 plan — but on its substance. About Cain, Perry says only, “Herman Cain is one of the most interesting people on the stage.” Who could disagree with that?

The best bit of the interview comes midway through, when Perry delivers a defense of his job creation record, which has yet to be (and really can’t be) discredited. He’s confident in what he has accomplished in the past — and confident about what he plans to do in the future. This is the Rick Perry I like to see. One-on-one interviews with polite news anchors don’t erase Perry’s dismal debate performances, but they do demonstrate that an implosion is not imminent. Perry’s funds run fathoms deep right now, and he says he hopes to make progress every day … in his debate performances. It might seem a little laughable that a presidential candidate with so much executive experience wasn’t better prepared to take the national stage in the first place, but Perry’s not going anywhere anytime soon — and, as he polishes his presentation, voters will begin to remember why they were originally enthusiastic about his entrance.

Click the image to watch.