Perry's 'call' could shake up GOP field
July 19th, 2011
06:45 PM ET
11 years ago

Perry's 'call' could shake up GOP field

Austin, TX (CNN) - For Republicans who are dissatisfied with the current presidential field for 2012, it could be divine intervention.

GOP insiders see Texas Governor Rick Perry as a potential game-changer. As his state's longest serving governor, the pro-business Perry appeals to both tea party activists and Christian conservatives, all with a Texas swagger.

At a press conference Monday, Perry confirmed what he recently told the Des Moines Register. He is feeling called by his faith and his friends to run.

"I don't ever get confused. I am a man of faith," he added.

The governor resisted the suggestion that his comments meant he is being called by God to jump into the GOP race.

"There are a lot of ways to be called. My mother may call me for dinner," Perry said.

Texas Republican party chairman Steve Munisteri is fielding plenty of calls himself, over the phone from GOP officials across the country, all encouraging Perry to jump into the race. He compares Perry to a clutch quarterback in a Super Bowl game.

"Rick Perry has never lost an election in his life," Munisteri said.

Every day there are new signs 2012 is the next election on Perry's list. Consider some of the highlights from this week's schedule: a teleconference with pastors in South Carolina Tuesday, a dinner with potential donors in Austin, a meeting with business leaders in California Wednesday, another meeting with potential donors Thursday in Colorado.

A key question for Perry is whether he can raise the money to take on Romney. There are no restraints in Texas on individual contributions to candidates.

"You can call 20 people for 50 thousand dollars and come up with a million dollars," Munisteri said.

But federal limitations could make it difficult for Perry to catch up with the former Massachusetts governor.

That gives Perry less than three weeks to weigh his fundraising potential before the next critical date on Perry's calendar, August 6.

That's the day the Texas Governor plans to lead a prayer event at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Organizers say the event, dubbed "The Response," will call for God's help to aid a "nation in crisis."

A video message by Perry is prominently featured on the "Response" web site. "We need God's help. That's why I'm calling Americans to pray and fast the way Jesus did," Perry says in the message.

Critics say the event blurs the separation between church and state. Controversial statements made by some of the event's organizers and official "endorsers" have also invited scrutiny.

One liberal group, People for the American Way has posted on its web site videos of the event's participants making comments on hot-button social issues such as gay rights.

Pastor John Benefel, a "Response" endorser, is seen in one video criticizing the Statue of Liberty.

"That is an idol, a demonic idol, right there in the middle of New York harbor. People say it's patriotic. What makes it patriotic? Why is it? It's a statue of a false goddess," Benefel says on the video

Perry insists he should not be held accountable for statements made by some of the event's participants.

"Just because you endorse me doesn't mean I endorse everything that you say or do," Perry said at his press conference.

Jim Hightower, a Texas Democrat who was defeated by Perry in a race for state Agriculture Commissioner in 1990, questions why the Governor would lead a religious event as he is gearing up for a possible presidential run.

"He's hitching himself up to it. There are some dogs that are too ugly to hug but he seems willing to do it," Hightower said in an interview with CNN.

Evangelical leaders in Texas defend Perry's participation in the event. Pastor Bob Long, who runs Rally Call Ministries in Austin, has prayed with Perry in the State Capitol.

He believes God may be calling Perry to run for President.

"I think it's absolutely a possibility that God is speaking to him," Pastor Bob Long said.

Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry • Texas
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. ThinkAgain

    A loud-mouthed evangelical with a "Texas swagger" – been there, done that, much to the detriment of our country.

    Don't forget, folks, Perry threatened to secede Texas from the United States; he, like Todd Palin, are traitors in my book, all too willing to shoot their mouths off without thinking.

    Our country deserves – and needs – better than that. (And we've got it currently in the White House.)

    July 19, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  2. kayla

    maybe the devil calling him and he thinks it's GOD. Lol

    July 19, 2011 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Perry "I am a man of faith" but puts $90 a year in tiding after earning millions. How convenient to pick up the Bible when needed and toss it aside when it's not longer needed, Bush said the same thing and look where he took the country. This guy is the worst hypocrit and should be facing teason chargers after threatening to sucede from the Union while our brave men and women from Texas are serving in harms way abroad, but what does Perry care, he's a panpered spoiled rich boy.

    July 19, 2011 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  4. raja

    God is not speaking your head is spinning.

    July 19, 2011 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  5. thomas

    A new study by the by the Council of State Governments finds that 60 percent of Texan students were suspended, expelled or faced in-school suspensions by the time they graduated high school.

    As Governor Rick Perry destroyed the Texas public educational system in the name of God !

    Can't wait to see what he will do as President !

    July 19, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  6. J. Smith

    OMG...Here it is, ladies and gents: the American version of the Taliban. How do these people keep their tax exempt status (I viewed the video mentioned above). If someone like this becomes president, we are all lost.

    July 19, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  7. Just As I Thought

    The more you Liberal "Enlightened" ones blaspheme, & make light of God......the more you show your real hate......your philosophy is "man is his own god& doesn't need God. You believe in doing whatever YOU think is right or wrong & allow your circumstances to justify....IE: if you do not want the responsibility of children, or are too selfish......just abort & you say "it is my voice". Well, what about what God says? Eternity is too long to be wrong! Perry WILL win in 2012 because Obama is NOT honorable or honest & God is NOT pleased with him!

    July 19, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  8. TWM

    Please, please God!
    Let this pompous self serving windbag run
    Maybe he can get Ms. Palin or Bachman to run with him
    They'll be a shoo-in

    July 19, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  9. TM

    We still remember the disaster caused the last time a "pro-business" governor from Texas was placed into the Oval Office. Now we have a proven secessionist looking to run. As that "famous" saying goes: Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice...can't get fooled again.

    July 19, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  10. Debbie

    Perry wants to sucede from the US. He has already stated this therefore he is opposed to the US. Let Texas secede and Perry can be the President of The Confederate Republic of Texas. As President Bush used to say: "if you aren't for us you are against us."

    July 19, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
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