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Austin American-Statesman, Ricardo B. Brazziell) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; TV OUT; INTERNET OUT; AP MEMBERS ONLY, Associated Press
Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks with Marsha Brenneman, seated, and David Puryear before the Williamson County Republican party’s annual Reagan Dinner on Monday, Feb. 6, 2012 in Round Rock Texas. It was Perry’s first public appearance in Texas since he abandoned his run for the GOP presidential nomination Jan. 19.

ROUND ROCK, Texas — Rick Perry is breaking his silence.

The Texas governor spoke Monday at a Williamson County Republican Party dinner north of Austin.

It was Perry's first public appearance since he abandoned his run for the GOP presidential nomination Jan. 19.

Perry entered the race strong in August, but his popularity dwindled under the weight of debate flubs and public gaffes.

He kept a low profile since returning home, and a recent poll commissioned by leading state newspapers showed his standing plummeting even among Texans.

Nearly half of respondents said Perry's presidential campaign hurt the state's image, and a majority said they don't want him running for a fourth full term as governor in 2014.

Perry's advisers aren't ruling out another gubernatorial run or a second try at the presidency in 2016.