(CNN) — Returning to New Hampshire for the first time since his failed 2012 presidential campaign, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday he has learned “some really, really good humbling lessons.”
Perhaps the biggest among them, he said, was preparation.
“I don’t care how good you might think you might be, that you’ve been elected governor of Texas three times…It is not good enough from the standpoint of the preparation to run for the presidency of the United States,” he told reporters at an event in Portsmouth.
Perry pulled his campaign for the Republican nomination in January 2012 after finishing sixth in the New Hampshire primary and fifth in the Iowa caucuses.
While he entered the race in 2012 with much fanfare, his campaign was dogged by multiple gaffes and poor debate performance – signs that he was not ready for the limelight.
Perry frequently attributes his missteps to painkillers he was on from back surgery he underwent six weeks before entering the race.
On Friday, he also said he simply didn’t lay enough groundwork before jumping in.
But now, he has “spent a lot of time in preparation,” he said.
“That’s not to say I’ve made the decision I’m going to run,” he added. “I haven’t. But the reason I don’t choose to run will not be because I’m ill-prepared.”
The outgoing governor, whose third full term ends in January, has maintained an active travel schedule in the past year, traveling to Iowa and South Carolina more than half a dozen times total. He’s scheduled to go back to both states in the next 10 days.
This weekend Perry is maintaining a six-stop, campaign-style schedule across New Hampshire, a state that prides itself in being the first to hold a presidential primary every four years.
“I just think you have to spend a lot of time in these states, if you’re going to do it. It’s like a relationship before you get married. There are a few times I guess people meet and it just works right off the bat, but generally there’s a courtship,” he said. “They need to know you, you need to know them. And I didn’t do that.”
His busy itinerary comes as Perry faces indictment over charges of abuse of power and coercion in Texas. The allegations relate to his handling of a political controversy involving a county prosecutor.
Perry vows to fight the indictment, which he and his legal team are framing as a political attack.
His arraignment was Friday in Austin, but he was not required to attend. At the proceeding, his lawyer said he will seek to have the case dismissed.
Dante Scala, political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, said the indictment “probably raises (Perry’s) profile coming into the state” but he still has a lot of work to do in terms or rebuilding his brand after 2012.
“It’s going to take more than one visit to offset all of that,” Scala said. “He’s got to go through the painstaking task of reintroducing himself to activists, talking to them one-on-one and start to persuade them that he’s the politician that a fair number of people thought he was.”