[UPDATED with Register Tongue Bath:] Rick Perry, Texas Governor and GOP Presidential Possible, Shakes the Newport Beach Money Tree

UPDATE, JULY 1, 8:11 P.M.: The Orange County Register Editorial Board loves them some Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

After the Republican met in Newport Beach's Pacific Club with big GOP donors and the likes of Orange County GOP Chairman Scott Baugh, Flash Report publisher Jon Fleischman, OC GOP Chairman Emeritus Tom Fuentes, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), Board of Equalization member Michelle Steele, former state Republican Party chairman Shawn Steel, former Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine), Claremont Institute President Brian Kennedy and--most tellingly--Reg opinion shaper Brian Calle, Santa Ana's daily gave Perry the print version of a tongue bath.

Read the editorial here and see if you don't agree.

What's not to love, if you believe government can do no right and corporate America can do no wrong? Some lines from the editorial that likely left many an Orange County Register Editorial Board seat wet:

He focused on fiscal conservatism, encouraging private sector competition and reverence for the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which he recited verbatim from memory.

[H]e said tax policies ought to be "as light on businesses as possible and still keep necessary services" for those who need them.

The "regulatory environment must be fair and predictable."

There should be a legal system that does not allow frivolous lawsuits.

"Mr. Perry was articulate, and his remarks seemed natural and extemporaneous," concluded the editorial. ". . . Republicans still in search of a standout candidate might find it in Rick Perry. Given the way he talked in Newport Beach, we would be surprised if he did not soon announce his candidacy. He looks poised to run."

You go, girl! After all, it's not like the Register has ever steered us toward a Republican Texas governor who went on to screw everything up in the White House.

ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 30, 8:11 A.M.: Will he or won't he?

It's the question close watchers of the Republican Party's presidential prospects want Texas Gov. Rick Perry to answer.

Before he can, however, Perry has to come to Newport Beach today to ask the moneymen a question of his own:

Should I?

Like, if the Big Wallets on Orange County's Gold Coast are already committed to, say, Mitt Romney, what's the point?

Proving that not all campaign cash comes from one Southern California basket, Perry is scheduled first to meet with Rolex- and diamond-bracelet shakers in Beverly Hills.

After the private meeting somewhere in Newport Beach, Perry heads up the middle of the state (which should remind him of the nicer parts of Texas) to Sacramento.

Fueling much of that will-he-or-won't-he talk: Today marks Perry's second visit to the Golden State in two weeks.

Hell, Schwarzenegger didn't even spend that much time here.

A Perry spokesman denied to the Associated Press that the governor is here on behalf of a 2012 presidential run, maintaining that the visit is associated with official Texas business. But it sounds like Shawn Steel, a Republican National Committee member and Palos Verdes attorney, would have liked to have measured the spokesman's nose while the denials were aired.

"I sense that he is beyond considering running for president. He is now planning to run for president," Steel is reported to have said, adding the Texas governor's California swing "has everything to do with 2012."

Steel will get to ask the man of the hour himself, as he plans to attend the Newport Beach gathering.

By the way, announced GOP candidates Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman have already come to Orange County for their own private meet-and-greets--presumably with hats in glad hands.


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