Tiffin, Iowa (CNN) – On Friday evening, Rick Perry stepped into the controversy surrounding comments made by a prominent pastor who said Republicans should vote against Mitt Romney because of his Mormonism and who called the Mormon faith a "cult."
Making his first public comments since the controversy erupted earlier Friday, the Republican presidential candidate disagreed with Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas.
"No. I don't think it is," Perry said when asked by a reporter if he believes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a cult. Perry was also asked if he associated himself with Jeffress' comments.
Though the Texas governor disagreed with Jeffress' words, he did not outright denounce them. Reporters attempted to ask Perry more questions, but were unsuccessful. Instead, Perry was ushered out with his wife, Anita Perry, and his campaign staff.
Perry spoke at an event in Tiffin, Iowa, sponsored by the Johnson County Republican Party. The governor sounded familiar campaign themes: raising the specter of China's rising power, his ability to create jobs, and the cost of "Obamacare" on the U.S. economy.
– Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN