As Rick Perry sat in the Texas governor's mansion about a month before he prepares to hand over the reins after 14 years in office and contemplates another run for the White House, he fondly remembered his "good friend" Jeb Bush, who announced this week he is "actively" exploring his own presidential run.
"Jeb's a good man -- a good friend. Great family, good governor of Florida. I think Jeb getting into the race will help the field," Perry said. "But it won't make a difference about whether I get in or not."
Perry hasn't yet decided on a presidential run and hasn't launched an exploratory committee or leadership PAC -- like Bush did -- to start fundraising for a potential run, but he certainly thinks he's got what America needs.
"I think Americans are begging for a positive view of the future, for an individual who's got a record of being able to make the future better for their families," Perry said in the exclusive sit-down Wednesday with CNN's Dana Bash. "And that's exactly what we've done in Texas over the last fourteen years."
Perry also chimed in on President Barack Obama's decision to ease landmark deal to free American aid worker Alan Gross and normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Perry said he is "very happy" to see Gross released and home in time for Hannukah, but criticized Obama's rapprochement with Cuba.
Despite saying "the jury is out" on Obama's decision, Perry said Obama "signaled an administration that is not allowing the people of Cuba to live free."
"And that's what America's always been about and we need to continually send that message that we're going to make decisions that clearly move forward the human rights," Perry said.
"All too often we see this President making deals that aren't in America's best interest," Perry said. "Whether it was Mr. Bergdahl and the exchange of those prisoners for that individual, every time I think it has put America at a lesser position than we were before."