Rick Perry making case to be taken seriously in 2016

That tack would be unremarkable, if not for how distinctly it contrasts with the seat-of-the-pants nature of Perry’s previous run. By the time he waltzed into the Republican race in mid-August 2011, Perry had given relatively scant consideration to how he would hold on to his early lead in the polls after months of insisting that he had no interest whatsoever in running.

This time around, Team Perry’s methodical approach figures to benefit the would-be candidate.

“What happened to him last time was physically and tactically waiting so long that it really put a damper on his ability to wage an aggressive, broad campaign,” Carney said. “If they do this the way it looks like they’re doing it, clearly they’ll have time, and obviously those health issues are over with. Whether or not there’s an opportunity out there, I don’t know.”

The question about opportunity is indeed the key one Perry faces.

Even if he is capable of being a more polished candidate in 2016 than he was in 2012, the jury is still out as to whether he has a clear lane to run in amid a far stronger field of likely candidates this time.