Rick Perry's wife visits Bob Jones University
October 14th, 2011
03:25 PM ET
11 years ago

Rick Perry's wife visits Bob Jones University

Greenville, South Carolina (CNN) - Rick Perry's wife Anita visited South Carolina's Bob Jones University on Friday, a sign that faith-based organizing is playing a key role in the Texas governor's presidential bid.

It was the first political event at the fundamentalist Christian school related to the 2012 presidential race, school officials said.

Mrs. Perry, a nurse, visited with nursing students and with students from Texas as they ate lunch in a school dining hall. The conversations were quick and light - Perry asked many students when they would be returning to Texas for work - and she gave no formal comments.

School officials said that that Bob Jones University does not allow formal speeches by primary candidates, lest it appear the school is endorsing one of them.

In the last presidential race, Bob Jones III, a former president of the university that bears his name, endorsed Mitt Romney for president. The endorsement surprised many in political and religious circles because many theologically conservative Christians don't consider Mormons like Mitt Romney to be Christian.

Since 2005, Bob Jones University has been led by Stephen Jones, the son of Bob Jones III and great-grandson of the school's founder.

The school's public relations director, Brian Scoles, said that neither Jones had endorsed a candidate in the 2012 race and stressed that such endorsements are personal and do not speak for the university.

Many students on Bob Jones' campus said Friday that they were still making up their minds on who to support in the presidential primaries and did not know much about the Texas governor. Many said the economy and jobs were their top concerns.

"He's definitely one of our favorites because he's conservative," said Taylor Manney, a nursing student, about Perry.

Bob Taylor, a dean at the school who has long been active in local politics, said that he "initially thought that Perry would be my guy because he's a genuine conservative from Texas."

"But the debates have hurt him some," Taylor said. "He's had his stumbles."

After visiting with a few dozen students, Mrs. Perry - clad in a black dress and sequined, leopard print jacket - took a private tour of the university art museum, which specializes in Christian art.

A day earlier in South Carolina, Mrs. Perry said her husband was being "brutalized" by fellow conservatives for his Christian faith.

"It's been a rough month," Perry said in an emotional speech to voters on Thursday. The speech was recorded by NBC News. "We have been brutalized and beaten up and chewed up in the press to where I need this today.

Rick Perry has been sliding in national polls since mid-September, when he put in shaky performances at two GOP presidential debates and lost a closely watched straw poll in Florida that he was widely expected to win. Perry's appearance at Tuesday's GOP debate also garnered negative reviews.

The latest CNN Poll of Polls, released Thursday, shows 14% of Republican voters identifying Perry as their choice for nominee, behind former Godfathers' Pizza executive Herman Cain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Those numbers reflect a sharp fall since early September, when a CNN/ORC International poll showed 30% of Republican voters picking Perry.

On Thursday, Anita Perry pointed the finger at fellow Republicans, who she said took issue with the governor's strong conservative Christian stance.

"We are being brutalized by our opponents, and our own party," Perry said. "So much of that is, I think they look at him, because of his faith."

Perry's relationship with the influential evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress has come under scrutiny in the past week. Jeffress told reporters at the Values Voter Summit in Washington he believed Mormonism was a 'cult.'

Two men running for the GOP presidential nomination are Mormons, Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. Jeffress has endorsed Perry, and introduced him at the summit.

–CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Anita Perry • Rick Perry • South Carolina
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Jamie from Riverside

    And afterwards they all went for lunch at Elaine's

    October 14, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    It's a summit at Hate Central.

    October 14, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Will someone tell Anita that Rick is getting beat up, not only by his party, by everyone because he appears to know nothing, cannot speak in complete sentences, and has no record to run on. Time for Rick to secede as a candidate, and go back to help Texas be the worst state in the US.

    October 14, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Any relation to Jim Jones?

    October 14, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. Sorensen

    No evolution. The earth/universe started 5000 years ago. No global warming. Etc, Etc.
    This is really going to help the respect for the USA in the civilized world!!

    October 14, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    That Tony Perkins goes everywhere with the Perrys.

    October 14, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. Zeflik

    This is interesting. Bob Jones University administrators sound fra more reasonable than Perry and his favorite minister. Or maybe I should not be surprised. Being in the academia makes people think – unlike what happens to those who become conservative Republicans.

    October 14, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Are Teavangelicals allowed to smile? I thought that a smile was the workshop of the devil.

    October 14, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. Squigman

    Pictured above: the : The amazing mindless people, hell bent on making you as mindless as they are.

    October 14, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  10. Al-NY,NY

    "a sign that faith-based organizing is playing a key role in the Texas governor's presidential bid."

    this alone is reason enough to disqualify this loser. Not that he is going anywhere anyway. He is fading fast. And his wife's dumb comment about Obama costing Jr his job is just complete nonsense

    October 14, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. HenryB

    Fruits and nuts. All together in one neat package with bad hair.

    October 14, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Where is the line drawn for tax-free, non-profits between religion and politics? The line sure seems to be rather gray, obscured and poorly defined to begin with.

    October 14, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. Mike

    Maybe she doesn't want her husband to win the nomination and is secretly working for the Romney campaign. She's hurting Rick more than she's helping him. Unbelievable.

    October 14, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. Larry L

    In the photo you'll see that look of blissful ignorance Bible-thumpers get on their faces when they listen to an evangelist tell them myths about the creation... how the earth is only 6000 years old and how they can establish a personal relationship with a diety who will never actually respond. Nothing more holy than a bunch of rich white folks sitting around talking about the love and charity of Jesus. Ironically, the teachings of Jesus are opposed to just about everything the Republicans endorse. Maybe I missed the passage about how you should get richer on the backs of the poor... or the one about polluting the earth to increase profits.

    October 14, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. The Greedy Old Pigs have lost their minds!

    The phony "christian" Taliban in action, ladies and gentlemen. And remember, this woman is so dim she thinks that her son having to resign because he wanted to work on his father's campaign, in violation of his work rules, is the fault of the boss and not the one who made the choice. This is also your phony "party of personal responsibility" in action.

    October 14, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. thomas

    Imagine what a great country this would be if these few kept there beliefs to them selfs !

    Texas Governor Rick Perry, struggling to regain his status as front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, expressed fresh doubt on Saturday about whether humans are causing climate change.
    "I still stand by that the science is not settled on man-made global warming," Perry said while campaigning in the key early primary state of New Hampshire.

    October 14, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    No one in the GOP can break wind without paing homage to the evangelicals, so how could people within the party be persecuting him for his faith? Or is it possible they are picking apart the record of someone who has accomplished none of the things he claims, and revealing the ugly truth?

    Rick, time to take your Stepford wife home, and go back to mismanaging the Lone Star State until they arrest your sorry butt of corruption, gross incompetance, and impersonating a sentient being.

    October 14, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. ralph malph

    Wow! Even if Gov. Perry were ready for POTUS, his wife is sure not. The type of heat that her husband has taken is self-inflicted. Can you imagine if the members of the U.S. congress repeatedly called him a Muslim. She would wilt like a head of lettuce that had fallen out of a refrigerated truck while crossing the Sahara. If she doesn't cool it with her childish whining, she's going to find herself the butt of many of the late night TV show jokes. For her sake, Gov. Perry needs to be a little more selective with his statements, friends, and stances.

    October 14, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    But where is Herman Cain's wife?

    Why isn't she campaigning with her husband like the rest of the wives?

    Rather odd don't you think?

    October 14, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  20. once upon a horse

    if Michelle Obama complained about the attacks on her husband like Anita Perry whines about, the right wing talk show and media would have a FEILD DAY over it. If she really wants to be FLOTUS she better get used to it or tell her husband to bow out NOW.

    October 14, 2011 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Herman Cain's wife should be out there front and center campaigning with her husband.
    She is after all a possible future FLOTUS.
    I am certain that Mr. Cain's supporters, and Conservative base would like to meet her, and see how well she interacts with America and her husband.

    Soooooo........where is MRS. CAIN???

    October 14, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. Herman Cain is NO Collin Powell, but He is a Teabagging Black token to BOOT

    Tony Perkins is just MAD as HELL the GW Bush people dont like Rick Perry and they dont want him to be a president!

    It's the only reason why the GW Bush people tried to draft Chris Christie, but are dissapointed & frustrated that they will have to make do with Mitt Romney, a mormon and a guy who passed ObamaCare in MA!!!

    You think you are really voting your choice...but the GOP profesional politicians, corporate oligarch & the media have already made that decision for YOU!!!

    This is Mitt Romney own words – "Corporations are people too"!

    October 14, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. jilli

    And did the imfamous Ms. Perry find something else to whine about on her visit – you know, like the persecution of her "christian" husband or her son QUITTING his job to help daddy on the campaign trail (it's apparently Obama's fault). What's next Anita – is the sky not blue enough for you?

    Here's a tip Rick, stash your wife away – as far away from a microphone as you can get her, her irrational whining isn't helping.

    October 14, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  24. Herman Cain is NO Collin Powell, but He is a Teabagging Black token to BOOT

    Herman Cain doesnt have a wife...he is not disclosing anything!

    He might stay in the closet too long.......

    October 14, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. Penobscot

    Home of the KKK....evangelicals, including the Perrys, are a bunch of nut bags.

    October 14, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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