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. Russ

    Maybe every Republican radical in the country should run for the nomination. How many so far? 20?

    July 19, 2011 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    We don't need no six-gun totin', tobacco spittin', beer drinkin', swagger nincompoop representing us in the eyes of the rest of the world.


    July 19, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  3. Just Talking Loud and Saying Nothing

    We will see. That voice is not the voice of GOD bob long. If he's hearing voices then he need to seek help. b long, be gone b/c if you and your kind backs him, I am backing out!

    July 19, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. Embarrased Conservative

    Please there are enough losers for trying to get our votes on the right. This guy is the one of the worst. I don't want to hear about TX creating so many jobs. It will be short lived as that $25Bil defecit, high poverty, and as of today very bad success for students in the high school level will catch up. Anyway this is the plan of Repub gov's. They run up the defecit and leave right before the bottom falls out so the next guy gets blamed. For further proof look at MN now after Pawlenty left and we all remember where things were going right as Bush left the WH.

    July 19, 2011 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. steve

    hahahahahaha, u must be kidding. come on in to the republicans nominating circus. they have plenty of room for another clown.

    July 19, 2011 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  6. Republican Robber Baron

    The voices in my head tell me to beware of false prophets like Gov. Perry. He wraps himself up in the flag of religion and refers to himself as a prophet. Then pretends to be a compassionate Christian while he executes inmates to seek revenge and keeps TX as one of the most toxic states in the land. Actually I believe TX is the most toxic of all.

    July 19, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Here's a man who wanted and advocated for his state to secede from the United States. Here's a man who seems to be inspired by his religous beliefs. There's nothing wrong with a man having beliefs, but there is a big problem with an elected official legislating his beliefs onto the general population at large.

    I recall the fearful atmosphere that Republicans tried to create surrounding JFK during his campaign. JFK was a Catholic, and fears were swirled about that the Pope would be running the country. To his credit, JFK did not make any religous arguments as part of his motivations. Unlike JFK, Gov. Perry does claim his faith as playing a big part in his career. JFK respected the ideal of the seperation of church and state. Gov. Perry does not.

    July 19, 2011 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  8. The Obama Recession Continues Unabated, Obama Depression on the way

    Sure why not run Perry? Anybody that cares about this country and wants to save it from the insane leftists wants to run for President. It'll be easy to win. Promise to repeal Obamacare and reel in federal spending and control over peoples' lives. Less federal government means more individual freedom. Bottomline is I'd vote for a Texas long horn steer instead of Obama. The steer couldn't possibly do more damage to this country than Obama has done.

    July 19, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  9. Dick

    If God has chosen Rick Perry to be president of the United States, why does he need to raise any money? It's God's will, isn't it?

    July 19, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  10. steve

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

    does anyone really know or really care to know what the term "absolutely a possibility" means. i think if we triangulate on this we could all end up resonating with it. The religious right "the new american taliban" please keep these whackos in waco.

    July 19, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  11. Greg

    Pretty scary – what else will his voices tell him!

    July 19, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  12. Four and The Door

    I am satisfied and excited with the current field of Republican candidates, This is a group of intelligent, reasonable, dedicated and deserving people, each of who could come in and give the federal government the kind of leadership it has been missing for the last couple of years. Leadership focused on the American people, not the special interests and the political game of the day.

    At the same time I would welcome Rick Perry into the group. He has his own brand of leadership and success and I would like to see what he can bring to national government. Certainly he could show the bumbling Democrats how to improve the economy and do the things that get people jobs.

    July 19, 2011 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  13. loveurick

    He'll definitely shake up the field. Actually, he'll clear the field. There's no one else who will be able to unite the party like Rick Perry. Republicans of all stripes and labels will support him, not only because he shares their values, but because he's by far the best candidate.

    Romney? Sorry, but he's a Mormon and yes, that will actually be problematic, not to mention the giant health care fiasco he has tied around his neck. Palin? She's not going to run. Guarantee it. Bachmann? Like Palin, a great cheerleader, but she just doesn't have the Congressional accomplishments she would need. Her resume is too thin. Huntsman? Too liberal. Pawlenty? He's already circling the drain. Cain? Likeable but no political experience. Paul? Sorry, too freaky.

    Perry is the longest-serving governor of his state. Under his leadership, Texas is a job-creating MACHINE. Number-one in the country. Half of all the new jobs created in America since 2009 were created in Texas. CNBC has ranked Texas as the #1 and #2 most business-friendly state in the nation for five years straight.

    All of Texas' achievements didn't just happen. It took leadership.

    Perry 2012!

    July 19, 2011 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  14. Mike B

    hhhmmmm....another jazzed up, fake cowboy, christian conservative goper from Texas being President....

    What could possibly go wrong??

    July 19, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  15. rene de vries

    What is it with you people pandering to everyone but Ron Paul. It seems to be you guys are paid to say certain things. You have to realize that soon people will wake up to the reality of your "commercial" and simply turn it off.

    July 19, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  16. DannyCali

    I think enough is enough no more Cowboy President Perry same as G.W.B.

    July 19, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  17. annie s

    Here we go again. God really does need to make up his mind already – he's called Bachmann, Santorum and now Perry? Is this the same God that called Bush?

    July 19, 2011 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  18. Texas Doc

    I know this sounds crazy, but this guy makes George W. Bush look like Einstein or Oppenheimer. That doesn't mean he's not a great Republican, in fact he is the perfect Republican. Wait till anyone with an IQ above zero gets a load of this doofus.

    July 19, 2011 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  19. frank in indiana

    Great now Texas' dirty little secret is out, all the numb nut preachers that are really off the wall. Anything for a buck type. And you thought the Texas School Book Commission was nuts...

    Bad enough this Aggie is governor. Though Texas governor doesn't do much. Sign bills. That's about it.

    July 19, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  20. paul smith

    I think that it's time to give Texas back to Mexico.

    July 19, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  21. Jake

    BIG TIME! go for it Pastor-in-chief!

    July 19, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  22. Really?

    Change what? This guy is a clown as well. He wanted to succeed from the Union and then cried when Obama didn't send him disaster funds quick enough. He wants to bring the Christian churches back into the WH. No he is no different then the other clowns they have put up to run on the right. The best the GOP has Will not run or won't be allowed to win by the extreme

    July 19, 2011 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  23. Bill in Florida

    Regardless of the outcome in November 2012, I believe that this election will go down as the most bizarre in our nation's history, "thanks" to the actions of the GOP nominees or wanna-bes.


    July 19, 2011 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  24. steph in TX

    Let's not forget what happened the last time a strong-willed and God-fearing Texas governor was elected to the White House. And believe me, this one is worse! Do you really want to go there again?

    July 19, 2011 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  25. Occupation

    Shades of Bush, divine calling and all. Another Fraud is just what America doesn't need.

    July 19, 2011 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
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