Sarah Palin and Rick Perry Friendship: Will It Stop the 'Mama Grizzly' From Running?

Their mutual fondness feeds speculation about whether she'll run.

ByABC News
August 22, 2011, 6:26 PM

Aug. 23, 2011 -- Rick Perry launched his presidential campaign with a headline-filled week on the stump. Sarah Palin is still undeclared, but seemingly giving it serious thought.

Her most recent move -- a video released by SarahPAC reprising her trip to the Iowa State Fair earlier this month -- looks a lot like a campaign commercial. She'll also be returning to Iowa Sept. 3 to headline a Tea Party rally.

Perry and Palin have known each other since before the 2008 election and they've both sung the other's praises over the years, but whether their relationship is close enough to stop Palin from getting into the race remains to be seen.

A Republican strategist with knowledge of Palin's thinking says they are close. "At the principal level, the relationship between Gov. Rick Perry and Gov. Sarah Palin is very warm," the source said.

Their "excellent relationship" notwithstanding, the source said, there's no way it would stop the former Alaska governor from jumping in the race.

"It wouldn't stop her, certainly if she is planning on running Perry's entrance wouldn't stop her because everyone knows that as soon as she enters, she'd be a top-tier candidate," the source told ABC News.

Sources close to Palin say even her closest advisers do not know what her decision is or even whether she has made one.

The last time the two met in public was in November at an anti-abortion rally in Dallas. Both politicians echoed many of the same themes, with Palin calling the Obama administration-backed health care law "horrendous" and Perry telling an audience of several hundred that the federal government "continues to undermine the laws that prevent funding for abortions."

The two spent time together at that event, but it's unclear whether they have talked since then.

Mark Miner, a spokesman for Perry's presidential campaign, declined to say whether Palin and Perry have spoken to each other in recent weeks, saying that the campaign would not comment on the governor's private conversations.