MOUNT PLEASANT, SC – Texas Governor Rick Perry refused to insert himself in the battle between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich Thursday, saying he’d let his two opponents duke it out themselves.
“I’ll let those two get in the ring and go at it. I’ll be out campaigning, shaking hands and asking people to support me because we need to get this country back working again,” Perry said at a press conference aboard the USS Yorktown here.
Standing in front of an American flag, Perry said he welcomes the competitive spark within the Republican field.
“Competition will make you stronger, and it will make you tougher, and it will make you ready for battle, and so bring it on.”
When asked by ABC News if fidelity in a marriage should be of importance to voters, the Texas governor said it is a significant issue and stressed his faithfulness to his wife and God.
“I didn’t make an oath just to my wife. I made an oath to God when I married my wife, so yeah I think it’s an important issue, but the American people will figure out these issues and work their way through them,” Perry said as he continued to stress the importance of faith this election.
“I’m not afraid to talk about my Christian faith, I’m not afraid to talk about the values that this country was based upon and I think we need to get back to those values. I don’t understand the why our children can’t pray in school or why our children aren’t allowed to celebrate Christmas in school. I don’t get that,” Perry said.
The Texas governor has yet to directly attack Gingrich since he rose to the top of the Republican ticket. Early in the campaign when Perry emerged as the frontrunner, he consistently railed against Romney in debates, speeches and web videos.
Flanked by veterans and crowd of supporters, Perry announced the formation of the Veterans for Perry Coalition, which includes a group of over 100 distinguished veterans in support of the Texas governor’s presidential campaign. Perry spoke of the importance of strengthening the U.S. military and railed against President Obama for using the military as “political pawns in some budgetary debate.” He called the cuts to Defense spending that will be triggered due to the Super Committee’s inability to reach an agreement a “budgetary surrender.” Perry, who has said he would reinstate Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, did not directly answer questions about what he would do with soldiers currently serving openly in the military should DADT be reinstated, saying only that he would have a conversation with the generals in the field on how to deal with the situation. After the press conference, Perry was approached by Catcher Jones, a seven year old Boy Scout from Greenville, approached Perry to show him his shirt, which read “Future President.” “I like that. I’m glad you’re not 21 or actually 35 yet,” Perry joked with the young boy.