MUSCATINE, Iowa -- Pray away the gaffe?
The famously mistake-prone Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that he prayed before a campaign event in Iowa to ask God to help him deliver an error-free performance.
Asked by a woman at the Button Factory Restaurant about the role prayer plays in his life, Perry responded, "Well, I prayed right before I walked over here that I wouldn't make any mistakes that my friends in the media would be able to put on television."
The Texas governor grinned and looked out at the assembled media on the press riser -- the traveling press pool currently includes eight reporters -- before turning back to the questioner.
"I pray a lot," he continued, "because I'm prone to make a lot of mistakes."
Perry was warmly received by the crowd of about 150 in the riverfront town, and he won particularly strong applause for his discussion of his faith.
When an audience member questioned him on how to get God back into America, Perry professed to huge applause that "God hasn't ever left."
"He's still here," Perry said. "He's still available."
He added, "I think it's time to have a president of the United States, who will stand up say, 'Listen, I'm not afraid to admit I'm a Christian.' I'm not afraid to stand up and say, 'I'm a Christian.'"
Perry, who was accompanied by backer Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) for a second day, avoided even any veiled criticism of the rest of the GOP field, choosing instead to focus his ire at the president's foreign policy.
"This president, who fashions himself to be the great debater, the great negotiator, has made the world more dangerous," Perry said of Obama. "And he's made it more dangerous, because those who are hostile to the United States don't really feel that America will stand up."
And the populist-pitching governor coined a new term for the mortgage giants that he argues defrauded the American people before the 2008 financial crisis.
"They should call it not necessarily Freddie and Fannie," Perry said. "I call it a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde. They are stealing from the people is what's going on."