Anita Perry, wife of Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate, Rick Perry gave a personal and emotional speech that focused on faith at North Greenville University in South Carolina.
TIGERVILLE, SC - An emotional Anita Perry reflected on the "rough month" she and her husband, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, have endured on the campaign trail in a speech Thursday focused largely on faith.
The Texas first lady weaved together religion and politics in a speech at North Greenville University, characterizing her husband's decision to seek the presidency in August as a calling from God. Perry suggested her husband was being targeted for his evangelical Christian faith.
"It’s been a rough month. We have been brutalized and beaten up and chewed up in the press to where I need this today," she said. "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. And they’re there for good reasons. And they may feel like God called them too. But I truly feel like we are here for that purpose."
Perry's campaign for president has foundered somewhat since its August launch. Poor debate performances and conservative scrutiny of Perry's record on immigration and other issues helped deflate an initial surge the Texas governor had enjoyed upon entering the campaign. The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll put Perry in third place, at 16 percent, behind businessman Herman Cain and former Massachsuetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Anita Perry got especially emotional upon recounting her childhood trips to church with her grandfather.
"My grandfather was the deacon in a Christian church and he made sure I went to Sunday school every Sunday because nothing made him prouder than for me to hear him in his sermon on Sunday," she said, before trailing off and bowing her head for about 15 seconds. "My grandfather still speaks to me today."
She likened Perry's decision to run to encountering a "burning bush," a reference to the Biblical story of Moses receiving a sign from God. And Anita Perry suggested that her husband's current difficulties were a "test."
"Last week, someone came up to Rick and gave him the scripture. He said Rick, I want to tell you God is testing you," she said.