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Perry leaves door open to future White House bid, could face uphill re-election battle back home

Rick Perry isn't ruling out another run at the White House someday, but he may face an uphill battle just staying in office back in Texas.

The governor and his wife, Anita Perry, in their first interview since Perry dropped out of the Republican presidential race, told Fox News that they regret not jumping into the race sooner, and Anita Perry hopes her husband will decide to run again.

Perry insist he hasn't left the fight.

"I just went home, rearmed, reloaded my mags and I'm going to be fighting on a different front," he said.

But the three-term governor returned home to Texas with an approval rating lower than President Obama's in the state. Perry, the longest-serving governor in state history, hasn't decided yet whether he'll run for a fourth term. It seems likely, but more than half of the Texans polled right after Perry left the presidential race said they didn't want Perry to run in 2014.

"I don't govern by polls," he responded. "I've been low in the polls before."

Perry's right. He has in the past faced approval ratings hovering in the mid 30s and still been re-elected.

Perry admits he wasn't prepared during the presidential race for what he calls the "Debate Society." He thinks he got much better at debating near the end of his campaign, but by then he came to the conclusion he wasn't doing the race any good and was "absorbing some of the conservative vote."

Perry also said his back surgery was a problem but not the reason for his rocky campaign start. If he does it again, Perry says there will be much more debate prep.

Perry and his wife have settled back into life in Austin -- their home for decades.

He is giving his first post-presidential election speech at the Williamson Reagan Day dinner in Rock, Texas. Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan says the speech wasn't planned until recently.

"After his exit from the race, the opportunity presented itself for this speech, so we decided to do it," Sullivan said.

Perry is proud that, although he is no longer running, his ideas are still being talked about by he other remaining candidates, like what he calls Obama's "War on Religion" and returning more power to the states.

Reflecting back, Perry says he hopes Americans realize "you can grow and learn." He said he thinks you should "look to how people have performed in the past to see how they will perform in the future."

Perry has endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and is open to campaigning for Gingrich, but no events are planned yet. He heads to Washington, D.C., on Thursday to speak at the conservative conference CPAC. He will return in March to keynote the Gridiron Dinner.