In an overt attempt to appeal to conservatives who disagree with the social policies adopted by the Obama administration, Texas Gov. Rick Perry's latest TV ad accuses President Obama of launching a "war on religion" and criticizes the policy of gay men and women serving openly in the military.
"I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school," Perry, wearing a tan jacket and blue shirt while walking and looking directly toward the camera, says in the ad. "As president, I'll end Obama's war on religion, and I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again."
The 30-second ad, called "Strong," is the Perry campaign's second effort in the past week to play up its candidate's conservative credentials. In a move to court social conservatives and evangelicals in Iowa last week, Perry released an ad called "Faith," that touted his religious commitment by proclaiming, "I'm not ashamed to talk about my faith."
"When you run for president, you get a bunch of questions about your faith," Perry said in the ad. "Now some liberals say that faith is a sign of weakness. Well, they're wrong. I think we all need God's help."
Bill Burton, senior strategist for Priorities USA, a pro-Obama group, called Perry's latest ad "astonishingly intolerant" and termed the TV spot a "war on gays."
The ad also serves as an example of the Perry campaign's efforts to differentiate the Texas governor from the president on social values. On Tuesday, Perry railed against Obama for his decision to use foreign aid to promote and protect the human rights of the gay and lesbian community abroad.
"Promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America's interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers' money," Perry said in a statement. ""This is just the most recent example of an administration at war with people of faith in this country. Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many [Americans] of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong. President Obama has again mistaken America's tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles. I will not make that mistake."
In an ABC News/Yahoo interview last month, Perry said he would be "comfortable" returning to the military policy of "Don't Ask Don't Tell."
"I think 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' worked very well," Perry said in an ABC News/Yahoo interview with Christiane Amanpour. "I think the idea that the president of the United States wanted to make a political statement using our men and women in the military as the tool for that was irresponsible."
It is not known at this time when or where this ad will begin running.