AUSTIN -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is undergoing exhaustive preparations to run for president in 2016, with dozens of think tank experts flying into Austin this month for daylong briefings and tutorial sessions with the governor.
Perry said during a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post that he would be a "substantially different, versed candidate" should he launch a second presidential campaign.
Perry regularly has attended policy briefings for the past two years, but the sessions have picked up pace in December, his final full month as governor.
Many of the scholars and policy experts visiting with Perry are not working exclusively with him and have been briefing some other potential 2016 candidates. But some of them are poised to join his effort in some capacity.
The days of briefings -- which typically include multiple roundtable and lunch or dinner -- are being organized by Jeff Miller, Perry's top political strategist, and Abby McCloskey, a Texas-based economist who previously worked for the American Enterprise Institute.
On health care, Perry was briefed all day on Nov. 24 by Avik Roy, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute; Grace Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute; Michael Cannon, director of health policy at the Cato Institute; Tevi Troy, president of the American Health Policy Institute; Tom Miller, a fellow at AEI; Joe Antos, a health-care scholar at AEI; Lanhee Chen, a fellow at the Hoover Institute; Casey Mulligan, an economics professor at the University of Chicago; and Jim Capretta, a scholar at AEI.
On Dec. 2, Perry attended sessions on income inequality and economic opportunity with Scott Winship, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute; Erin Currier of the Pew Charitable Trusts; and Aparna Mathur, a scholar at AEI.
Perry is sitting down on Tuesday to discuss energy and environmental issues with David Kreutzer, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation; Scott Linicome of the Cato Institute; Leland Miller, managing director of Avascent International; Mike McKenna, president of MWR Strategies; and Tom Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance.
On Wednesday, Perry has sessions scheduled on budget and entitlements with Chen; Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget; Andrew Biggs, a scholar at AEI; and Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute.
Perry also holds sessions Wednesday on education policy with Andrew Kelly, director of the Center for Higher Education Reform at AEI; Michael McShane, a fellow at AEI; Jason Delisle, director of the Federal Education Budget Project at the New America Foundation; and Mike Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Forham Institute.
Perry's sessions on economic growth, labor markets, taxation and regulation will take place this Thursday with four former Bush administration economists: Greg Mankiw, chairman of economics at Harvard University; Glenn Hubbard, dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Business; Keith Hennessey of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business; and Diana Furchgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
On Dec. 16, Perry will sit down to discuss immigration policy with Madeline Zavodny, an economics professor at Agnes Scott College; Pia Orrenius, vice president and senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Tamar Jacoby, president of ImmigrationWorks USA; Alberto Davila, an economics professor at the University of Texas-Pan American; and Allyson Ho, a Texas-based lawyer and partner at Morgan Lewis.
Perry will discuss financial services issues on Dec. 17 with Peter Wallison, a scholar at AEI; and Mark Calabria, director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute.