NEW ORLEANS (AP/The Blaze) — Rep. Ron Paul may have secured victory in the Republican Leadership Conference straw poll this weekend, but it’s Texas Gov. Rick Perry who is capturing headlines following a rousing speech many speculate may be yet another indication of Perry’s plans to enter the already crowded 2012 GOP field.

Taking pointed swipes at the Obama administration Saturday, Perry’s appearance at the Republican Leadership Conference could offer another tantalizing hint that he’s ready to upend a crowded field of candidates who have worked months to amass name recognition, organization and campaign cash.

“This administration in Washington that’s in power now clearly believes that government is not only the answer to every need, but it’s the most qualified to make the most central decisions for every American in every area,” Perry said. He called Obama’s approach to the economy “an affront to every freedom-loving American and a threat to every private sector job in this country.”

“I stand before you today as a disciplined, conservative Texan, a committed Republican and a proud American, united with you in the desire to restore our nation and revive the American dream,” he said.

Perry — the longest serving governor of his state — is drawing much national interest despite little effort. He insisted for long time that he wouldn’t run. But in recent weeks, he has softened his refusals and his advisers have reportedly started laying the groundwork for a campaign in Iowa.

“We’ve got the wind at our back right now,” Perry told the excited GOP crowd. “Americans are waking up to the realities of their previous choices. We must keep America moving back to preeminence because our values and conservative ideas are the world’s greatest hope.”

The Right Scoop has Perry’s full speech — Could it be a test run for a presidential stump speech? You decide: