Rick Perry is only eight weeks into his run for the Republican GOP nomination and his wife, Anita, says that the campaign hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park.
Speaking down in South Carolina on Thursday, a state that Perry should do well in because of his religious views, Texas’ first lady said that “it’s been a rough month” for the nascent Perry campaign.
The first-lady-in-waiting also played the “faith card” in talking about her husband’s critics.
“We are being brutalized by our opponents, and our own party. So much of that is, I think they look at him, because of his faith. He is the only true conservative – well, there are some true conservatives,”she said speaking at North Greenville University, growing emotional as she discussed the contest.
According to a video, captured by NBC news, Anita Perry said that God has called her husband, and other true conservatives, into the race. In a speech filled with Biblical references, Perry talked about growing up with the Texas governor, and the couple’s Christian faith. She teared up in talking about her grandfather, who she said still speaks to her through hymns.
Anita Perry said there was a “nagging and pulling at my heart for (Rick) to run for president.” After skyrocketing to the top of the polls after announcing his candidacy, Perry has faltered badly after poor debate performances.
More recently, Robert Jeffress, a Baptist preacher who has endorsed his candidacy, called Mormonism a cult and said that Mormons are not Christians. The remark was a direct swipe at one of Perry’s biggest rivals for the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon.
Perry has said he disagrees with Jeffress, but has yet to completely cut ties or disavow the pastor. Romney and Jon Huntsman, both Mormons, called on Jeffress to negate the comments.
“We still feel called to do this,” Anita Perry said Thursday. “We didn’t have to do this. We are doing this because we want to do this. Because we want to save our children...We are fighting for the soul of our country.”