The Ticket

Bush allies could target Rick Perry’s presidential bid

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Perry and Bush (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Rick Perry is still weeks away from deciding whether he'll make a bid for the GOP presidential nomination, but there are already signs he might face opposition from at least one influential GOP constituency: supporters of George W. Bush.

While Perry and Bush used to be close political allies, the bad blood between the two has become legendary in Texas in recent years, dating back to when the current Texas governor was quoted questioning Bush's conservative credentials in 2007.

As the New York Times' Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny write today, it's a message that Perry could revive in hopes of distinguishing himself from Bush in a potential 2012 run. But the strategy could also mobilize Bush's inner circle to work against a Perry candidacy, which they are already threatening to do.

"If you're really trying to be the nominee and want to go the distance, you just don't want the former president of the United States and his people working against you," a close "associate" of Bush, who declined to be named, tells the Times.

But it's unclear if Bush allies could really derail a Perry White House bid. Their previous attempts to undermine the governor have failed. Last year, several former Bush advisers and members of the Bush family, including former President George H.W. Bush, endorsed Kay Bailey Hutchison's primary challenge to Perry in the state's governor's race. But Perry ultimately hung on, becoming the longest serving governor in the country.

Dave Carney, a Perry adviser, downplays the tensions between his boss and Bush, telling the Times, "They are in the same church, different pews."

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