GOP Field: Perry and Huntsman Shake Up Race

New signs are emerging that the GOP field will widen and diversify.

June 20, 2011— -- As the battle for the Republican presidential nomination heats up, the GOP may again look to a Texas governor to win back the White House, while an unlikely contender who worked for President Obama will enter the fray this week.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry stole the show this weekend at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, firing up conservatives with an anti-government, tea-party message.

"November 2012 is not very far away, but we've got to be ready to elect Republicans up and down that ballot who will make government smaller so that opportunity can get bigger," Perry said, adding "our loudest opponents on the left are never going to like us, so let's quit trying to curry favor with them."

Perry would instantly be a formidable candidate for the Republican ticket, as he is the longest-serving governor in the country. And unlike the rest of the U.S., the Texas economy has been booming.

Drawing chants of "Perry 2012" and "run, Rick, run," Perry spoke on conservative values and slammed Obama's employment record on Saturday.

"That mix of arrogance and audacity that guides the Obama administration is an affront to every freedom-loving American and a threat to every private sector job in this country," Perry told the crowd.

"They clearly think that they know best. And let me tell you I vehemently disagree. They don't know best," he said.

Perry boasted about his record as Texas' governor, reminding the audience that Texas has seen nearly half of all new job growth in the country, and that the state's budget has been balanced over the past two years.

Whether Perry decides to run or not, the Republican field is about to get more crowded, as Jon Huntsman -- who most recently served as Obama's ambassador to China -- is launching his campaign for the presidency on Tuesday.

Huntsman has already launched an unconventional television commercial campaign that features an unidentified man riding a motocross bike across a desert, and little else.