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Perry For Veep?

This year is the first, since 1984, that no major presidential candidate has hailed from the Lone Star State. Thanks to Ronald Reagan's choice of George H.W. Bush as Vice President in 1980, 1976 was the last time no Texan showed up anywhere on the national ticket. In 2008, only Rep. Ron Paul comes from Texas, and he runs well behind front-runners.

So, where is someone to find a Texan to compliment a ticket? How about a governor with a great reputation with conservatives to compliment more moderate nominees like Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani? Gov. Rick Perry, the man who succeeded President Bush, has ramped up his travel schedule lately and is raising his national profile.

After heading to Iraq and Afghanistan a few months ago, Perry made a stop in Israel, where he accepted an award for fostering international cooperation. Then, just over two weeks ago, Perry headed to California to address the state's GOP convention. While California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger offered platitudes about working with Democrats in a bipartisan matter, Perry won applause for throwing the crowd some serious red meat.

Asked about Perry's travel schedule, spokesman Robert Black made all the right noises, emphasizing Perry's positives while saying his boss isn't campaigning for the job. "The vice presidency isn't something you run for." Still, Black says, Perry has an important role to play. "Since Texas doesn't have a native son on the ballot," he said, "you can anticipate him doing any kind of surrogate speaking he is asked to do."

A general election candidate, aside from assuaging the base with the conservative Perry, might also be attracted to Perry's fundraising ability. As chair of this year's Republican Governor's Association dinner, in late February, Perry pulled in $10.4 million -- a record for the event, held in DC and keynoted by his predecessor, according to an RGA spokesman.

Perry, maintains Black, isn't thinking about the job. "He thinks he's got the best job in the country," Black said. "Just ask the current occupant of the White House."