Rick Perry's wife gives the green light

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has said his decision as to whether he’ll run for president hinges primarily on his ability to raise enough money to mount a successful campaign — but, just in case his supporters fear a Mitch Daniels moment, it’s good to know Perry’s wife is already on board.

Following a brief meeting on state finances Tuesday, Perry talked expansively for the first time on what his wife, Anita, has been telling him about a White House run.

“My wife was talking to me and saying: ‘Listen… get out of your comfort zone. Yeah, being governor of Texas is a great job, but sometimes you’re  called to step into the fray,’” the governor said.

As an experienced political wife, Anita Perry has been stepping into the fray with her husband since he ran for the Texas House in 1984.

But Anita isn’t merely supportive; she’s also likely to be an asset should Perry decide to run. She wants her husband to join the race not out of vanity, but out of a genuine concern for the direction of the country. As a nurse, for example, she has expressed worry about Obamacare’s probable effects on the nation’s health care system. That conviction should carry her better than sheer ambition ever could as she weathers weeks on the campaign trail herself. And after years as the First Lady of Texas, she has already overcome her original shyness to canvas for votes for her husband. She’s used to a grueling schedule, as one profile of her makes clear:

Even seated, she is still on the run. Her weeks are a collection of calls, meetings, travel and speeches. Her agenda is preserving county courthouses, sponsoring the Texas Conference for Women, promoting tourism, pushing childhood immunizations and raising money to restore the Governor’s Mansion, gutted by arson two years ago.

This is the Anita Perry described by her friends: unadorned, straightforward and as steady as her blue-eyed gaze.

Perhaps most importantly, she’s also accustomed to the praise and criticism of her husband that come with the territory of an elected executive position — and makes it her priority to keep him grounded.

If Rick Perry has a checklist, he should be nearing the end of it — and, so far, it seems, every item has been checked in the “yes” column. A call? Check. Wife’s support? Check. Fundraising potential? Check. Positive polling? Check. He still faces those pesky comparisons to former President George W. Bush — but, as those “Miss me yet?” shirts hint, that’s not necessarily a negative.