(CNN) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry picked up his first Senate endorsement Monday from Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.
"Fourteen months ago I called him up. I said, 'Rick, I don't know if it's really going to happen, but I really believe you're the only guy who can really win this thing," Inhofe said at the Tulsa event. "And when the time comes, I'm going to be there to endorse you'."
Of the current 2012 GOP contenders, Inhofe said Perry was the strongest choice to beat President Barack Obama, citing the governor's record of increasing jobs in Texas and cutting down the state's deficit.
"The one thing that he has that nobody else has is his background of experience–not just in being an administrator, but in doing the right thing." Inhofe said, with Perry standing by his side. "No one out there is as aware as to the cost of all the over-regulations we're experiencing right now."
Perry said he was humbled by the senator's endorsement, adding that he was surprised when Inhofe called him last year about running for president.
"I did think you were way outside the realm of possibilities when you called, and I shared that with you," Perry said.
Inhofe is known as one of the Senate's most outspoken skeptics on climate change and shares his doubts with Perry, who has drawn fire for saying manmade global warming is an unproven scientific theory.
The Tulsa World last week reported that Inhofe has also weighed in on other White House hopefuls, saying former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is "a little mushy" on environmental issues. As for Newt Gingrich, Inhofe said he's always had a vision of the former House Speaker "sitting on the couch holding hands with Nancy Pelosi."
Besides Perry, Inhofe said there's another potential candidate who could oust Obama: Sen. John Thune of South Dakota.
"The reason I say that is he's taller than Obama is, he's better looking than Obama is, and he's the same age Obama is. He would have made a good candidate, but he's not running," Inhofe said.
While Thune was a favorite in early talks of 2012 presidential candidates, he decided against the idea in February and said he'll stay in the Senate. But in an interview in July, Thune left the door open for a vice presidential spot, saying he wouldn't rule out any options if asked to be the GOP running mate.
- CNN's Steve Brusk and Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.