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Will Rick Perry announce 2016 White House bid?

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(Read caption) Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks in Grapevine, Texas, on June 27. On Monday, Governor Perry has invited friends and supporters to San Antonio and the country’s largest Caterpillar equipment dealership to announce his future plans. The longest-serving governor in Texas history is expected to reveal if he’ll seek a fourth full term in office next year.

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WWRPD? What will Rick Perry do? That’s a big question in US politics Monday as the current Texas governor and former GOP presidential candidate has invited supporters and friends to join him in San Antonio for an announcement of “exciting future plans."

The conventional wisdom is that this exciting future does not include Mr. Perry running in 2014 for a fourth full term as Texas governor.

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“The smart money is on him passing on another bid with an eye on something bigger,” writes Washington Post political reporter Chris Cillizza on “The Fix” blog Monday.

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After all, why would Perry want the strain and stress of another gubernatorial bid? He’s already the longest-serving governor in Texas history. Polls show him with a comfortable lead over his most likely primary challenger, Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott. He has nothing left to prove in the Lone Star State.

Well, almost nothing. Polls also show that Texans would prefer the state’s GOP Sen. Ted Cruz over Perry if both men run for president. And that’s perhaps the second part of Monday’s Perry announcement: He may unveil something aimed at helping erase the unfortunate image left by his hapless 2012 campaign, which seemed to show that Texas was as far as his political career would progress.

Perry’s “oops” moment in a televised GOP debate, when he uttered that word after forgetting the federal departments he had vowed to eliminate, was one of the lowlights (or highlights, depending on your view) of the entire primary process. It appeared to symbolize the campaign of someone who was just not ready or able to compete for higher office.

“Refurbishing his reputation on the national stage may be what he’s ultimately seeking,” writes veteran national political reporter David Catanese on his “The Run 2016” blog.

Perry has played coy in recent days when asked the 2016 question. It’s “an option,” he said Sunday on Fox News.

He’s unlikely to flatly announce Monday that he’s running, of course. That’s not how modern presidential campaigns work, in part due to campaign finance laws that restrict how certain contributions can be used.

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Instead, he may say something vague and uplifting about wanting to remain a force in the US political world. Then, he might unveil a new vehicle for his aspirations, such as a "super PAC" that could fund preliminary national travel in the next year or so.

This would clear the way for Attorney General Abbott to succeed Perry in Texas, and allow him to raise money for other politicians, winning new friends and influencing new people.

Or all this could be wrong. As the “oops” shows, Perry is not a predictable politician. Former Perry aide Robert Black recently told the Texas Tribune, “for those out there trying to read the tea leaves don’t. Because you’re probably going to be wrong.”