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Iowa Senator Grassley: Rick Perry Would Make ‘Very Good President'

Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Hours after making his speech on energy and jobs Friday in Pittsburgh, Pa., Texas Gov. Rick Perry parachuted into Waterloo, Iowa, in the hopes of currying favor with one of the state’s most influential kingmakers.

Perry attended a fundraiser Friday evening for Iowa State Rep. Pat Grassley, grandson of Iowa’s senior U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley—a key GOP endorsement for the candidate who receives it.

“I have a great deal of respect for Gov. Perry. I think he’d make a very good president,” Grassley told ABC News in an exclusive interview.

But Grassley was quick to say his praise of the governor was not an endorsement.

 “I’m not making any sort of endorsement,” he said.

Many of the GOP candidates have met with Grassley in the hopes of earning his endorsement.

But it “could be a couple of weeks” before the senator lends his support to any of the candidates. He could after all not endorse anyone, he said.

Grassley praised Perry’s Pittsburgh speech, a seminal address in which he tied job growth to expanded energy exploration.

“The governor has a very sound energy program,” the senator said. “I think energy is very important to job creation, because the higher the cost of energy the less consumer spending there is.”

Iowa hopes to retain its first vote of the nation and is mulling pushing its caucus up to as early as November, now that Nevada plans to hold its primary exceptionally early this season.

Grassley said he hoped Iowa would not have to hold its caucuses so early, but said the state should do it what it can to go first.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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