Can legislative session jumpstart Perry's presidential hopes?

Cal Jillson, political scientist at SMU's Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, talks about Texas Gov. Rick Perry worthiness as a presidential candidate in 2016.

By Peggy Fikac

AUSTIN — The legislative session that opens Tuesday will give Gov. Rick Perry a chance to burnish his credentials if he chooses to make another run for president in 2016.

But some are hard-pressed to imagine a session — or anything else — good enough to make voters forget his disastrous White House race that limped to an end just about a year ago.

“On the one hand, Reagan, Bush, McCain, and Romney all lost on their first nomination try, and they came back to fight and win another day. The problem for Perry is that he crossed a line from contender to punch line,” said University of New Hampshire political scientist Dante Scala. “My guess is that the window is closed for Perry.”

Perry turned into a punch line after a series of campaign missteps punctuated by his inability to remember all the federal departments he wanted to shut down, a debate lapse that entered the big leagues of embarrassing moments when he gave up with an “oops.”...

“I do think that he would be a formidable candidate for governor if he ran again,” said Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson. “But there is no indication that he is doing what he would need to do to be a plausible candidate for president because he would have to undertake a serious course of study on national security, foreign policy, military affairs.”...