DES MOINES, Iowa -- Key advisers to Texas Gov. Rick Perry are beginning to lay the groundwork for a campaign for Iowa's leadoff GOP presidential caucuses by making inquiries about the process in case the Republican seeks the 2012 nomination.

But they caution that their preliminary planning does not indicate that Perry has decided whether to run.

Perry's chief consultant, Dave Carney, acknowledged that he was asking questions about the political landscape, the caucus process and potential staff in Iowa.

He characterized the fact-finding as part of preparations for what would be a later entry by Perry into the race than many other candidates. Carney said the three-term governor has not determined whether he will seek national office.

Perry himself plans to start calling key Iowa Republicans after the Texas Legislature concludes its special session at the end of June, Carney said.

After months of denying that he had an interest in running for national office, Perry recently has indicated that he is weighing a presidential campaign, and he has been working to raise his national profile with a series of speeches across the country.

He is scheduled to speak today at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, along with several Republicans who already have entered the race. He also plans to host a national day of prayer in Houston, a move seen by GOP insiders as a play to evangelicals who are an important part of the GOP base, particularly in Iowa.

Until recently Carney was an adviser to GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, but he left Gingrich's campaign with most senior aides last week, a development that stoked speculation that Perry was gearing up to enter the Republican race.