SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Citing his own "peace with God," Rick Perry says he's pressing forward with his battered presidential campaign because he will not "quit on the future of America."
"I've never quit a day in my life. I've never quit in the face of adversity," Perry told over 100 South Carolinians at the famed Beacon Drive-In in Spartanburg. "And I'm not just about to quit on the future of America. I am going to stay in this race and stay in this fight because our children and our country are worth the fight."
Perry, who suffered a disappointing 5th place finish in the Iowa caucuses and appeared on the verge of dropping out last week, said that he was encouraged to stay in the race by endorser Capt. Dan Moran, a Marine who endured over 30 surgeries after surviving an IED attack in Iraq.
"He said, 'Sir, I didn't get these scars on my face to quit,'" Perry said of Moran. "That's our challenge. That we're not quitting on America. We're not quitting on this race."
The Texas governor said that his faith - which he emphasized frequently during his first stop of a long swing through the state - has guided him through the difficult days of the campaign.
"When you find that peace from God, you stop worrying about what the critics say," Perry said. "Matter of fact, you quit reading the headlines, good ones or bad ones, because they don't matter."
"I've got all the people that love me that I need. Her, (his wife) Jesus. and my family," he added during his pitch as an enemy of Washington. "I'm not going to Washington DC to make a friend."
Team Perry's last best hope lies in the Palmetto State, where they hope he can reconnect with Tea Party and evangelical voters skeptical of frontrunner Mitt Romney.
On Sunday, he painted South Carolina as a prime enemy of the Obama administration, which has recently clashed with the state government over voting and business regulations.
"There are some other states that are under assault," he said. "South Carolina, they're going to war with y'all."
Perry added that he would do away entirely with the National Labor Relations Board, a federal body particularly reviled by conservatives in the state due to its conflicts with Boeing manufacturers over labor laws.
At the famed campaign hotspot, Perry ordered a "chili cheese a'plenty" and sweet tea to go, but he renamed the heart-unhealthy concoction with a more personalized title.
"Having a Chili Cheese Delight Extra ...Governor!" he declared of his meal.