In his third television ad released this week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has described himself in the past as a “man of faith,” tries to sell his strong faith credentials to evangelical voters in Iowa, a key constituency in the first caucus state.
“When you run for president, you get a bunch of questions about your faith,” Perry says in the ad as he looks directly into the camera. “People want to know what drives you, how you make decisions. Now some liberals say that faith is a sign of weakness. Well, they’re wrong. I think we all need God’s help.”
“America’s greatest leaders have been people of strong faith, strong values. That makes for a strong America,” Perry says. “I’m Rick Perry, I’m not ashamed to talk about my faith, and I approve this message.”
The 30-second ad called “Faith” began running statewide in Iowa on Thursday. He also released two other ads addressing the country’s dependence on foreign oil and poking fun at his “Oops” moment.
Perry has been candid about his faith with voters, discussing his personal struggles with faith as a young man in speeches. After a campaign event in New Hampshire this week, Perry shared with a voter that he prays daily for the country, even offering up prayers for President Obama.
In November, Perry joined five Republican candidates at the Family Leader’s Thanksgiving Forum in Des Moines to sell their conservative and religious credentials to the social conservative crowd, and the Texas Governor explained the importance his faith has played as he’s made decisions in his leadership position in the Lone Star State.
“I’ve been driven to my knees multiple times as the governor of the state of Texas making decisions that are life-and-death,” Perry said at the forum. “The idea that I would walk into that without God Almighty holding me up would scare me to death.”
“Rick Perry’s Christian faith has played a key role in his life and leadership, just as it has in the founding and life of the United States of America,” Ray Sullivan, Perry campaign communications director, said in a statement. “Gov. Perry is guided by faith every day as he travels our great country discussing his strong social and fiscal conservative values, record and vision with voters in Iowa and across the nation.”
Perry has not hidden his devout faith as the governor of Texas. In April, he issued a proclamation for days of prayer for rain as the state dealt with parched lands. Prior to announcing his decision to enter the presidential race in August, Perry helped organize The Response, a day of prayer and fasting which attracted a crowd of 40,000 people to Reliant Stadium in Texas.
“Like all of you, I love this country deeply,” Perry said in August. “The only thing that you love more is the living Christ.”
“This is a day that people are going to discuss for years to come,” Perry said in his closing speech at The Response. “Beyond my hope that it will begin a renewal of our nation, I sincerely pray that our willingness to stand in the public square to acknowledge the God who made us will inspire others to open their minds and their hearts to their love. I pray there will be families who will welcome God back into their homes. People will be strengthened by his love and by his forgiveness because that is the essential building blocks that will strengthen this nation that we love.”
The organizers of the original Response in Houston are organizing a series of state Responses over the coming months, including one in Cedar Rapid on Dec. 6. Governor Perry and the other presidential candidates are not affiliated with the event.