Despite being brutalized by members of his own party and attacked by the media, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will soldier on in his quest for the Republican nomination for president because he is fighting “for the soul of our country,” his wife, Anita, asserted in a speech.
Her remarks at North Greenville University Thursday came as Perry struggles with a reversal of fortune in the month since he joined the campaign. He initially jumped to the head of the pack but then slipping dramatically in the polls as opponents attacked him for his stands on immigration and the HPV vaccine and media for his debate performances.
Her address, marked by long, emotional pauses and the wiping of tears, was a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the toll a national campaign can take on the families of candidates and has caught the attention of media across the country.
|Anita Perry: "We have been brutalized and beaten up and chewed up in the press."
“It is a comfort to know I am in this place where I can feel the presence of God. And what a joy it is because it’s been a rough month,” she said at the Baptist school near Greenville, S.C. “We have been brutalized and beaten up and chewed up in the press. I only wish that Rick was here because he would be feeling the same comfort and warmth and love that I feel.”
Gov. Perry took to the airwaves to back up his wife, noting that “family members generally take these campaigns harder than anyone else.” When asked on ABC's "Good Morning America" about his wife's comments, Perry said he has “one of the finest women in the world that I could be married to, and she is passionate."
In her speech, Anita Perry spoke of how she grew in a loving and faith-filled environment with the neighbor who would later become her husband and how he came to make his decision to run for president.
“In November 2010 when Rick was elected for the governorship for the third time in Texas, there was a nagging pull at my heart for him to run for president,” she said. “He didn’t want to hear a thing about running for president, he was happy being governor of Texas, he was good at being governor of Texas.”
She said she urged him on by telling him there was nobody in Washington to guide the country.
“God was already speaking to me but he didn’t want to hear it,” she said.
“He felt that like he needed to see the burning bush,” she added. “I said, ‘Look, let me tell you something. You may not see that burning bush but there are people seeing that burning bush for you.’ (He) really took it to heart; he prayed about it, he really prayed about it.”
She explained that the decision was made as a family.
“So we felt he truly felt like he was called to do this,” she said. “We still feel called to do this. We’re being brutalized by our opponents and our party. So much of that is I think they look at him because of his faith. “
Perry said her husband is someone who can go toe-to-toe with President Barack Obama and offer the country a clear choice. Should Obama get a second term, she warned it would take more than 40 years for the nation to recover.
“We truly feel like our country is on the abyss of failure and destruction,” she said. “We didn’t have to do this; we are doing this because we want to do this, because we want to save our children, because we need to put the soul of our country back. We are fighting for the soul of our country.”
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