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Rick Perry's 2016 Narrative: Second Chances

Image: Rick Perry's 2016 Narrative: Second Chances
(Shannon Stapleton/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Apr 2015 08:53 AM

It appears former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has settled on a theme for a possible 2016 presidential bid that he hopes will resonate with evangelicals: second chances.

During a swing through the early-primary state of South Carolina this week, Perry, who waged a foible-prone candidacy in 2012, drew upon the Christian narrative of second chances, according to the Texas Tribune.

"That's the key — to give people the opportunity to have these second chances in life," Perry said during a speech to about 800 students at Columbia International University, a Christian institution. "I sure got mine."

Perry mentioned second chances more than two dozen times during his address, in which he shared his own story of redemption, the newspaper reported.

"That's the real Rick Perry," his top adviser in South Carolina, Katon Dawson, told the Tribune.

"The story of coming from Paint Creek [Texas] and anything's possible is a powerful Christian story and it's a powerful political story, and that matters."

Perry said he still has not made a decision about whether to run.

After feeling a "calling to the ministry," it was God, Perry said, who steered him into a life of public service, according to Columbia's The State newspaper.

"He meant for me to have a ministry," Perry told the crowd. I just never knew it was going to be as big as it is."

Perry has made no secret of courting evangelicals. During his visit to the Palmetto State, he also met with pastors in Columbia and Charleston. And over the Easter weekend, Perry aired a faith-themed TV ad, the Tribune noted, and he has also been a vocal supporter of Indiana's religious freedom law.

In a February 2014 Winthrop Poll, 60 percent of GOP primary voters identified as evangelical Christians or "born again," and 84 percent said religion was very important to them.

After his speech at the university, Perry engaged in a question-and-answer session during which he briefly turned the conversation to the Islamic State and it's "seemingly endless pursuit" of non-Muslims, specifically Christians.

"They hate you, they hate your way of life and they hate your values," he told the crowd.

His message this time around seems to be registering with some voters.

"He's much better this time. I even told him!" New Hampshire resident Denise Pressinger told CNN in February during a Perry swing through that state.

The Granite State is the first primary election held in the United States.

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It appears former Texas Gov. Rick Perry has settled on a theme for a possible 2016 presidential bid that he hopes will resonate with evangelicals: second chances.
Rick Perry, second chances, 2016, texas
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2015-53-08
Wednesday, 08 Apr 2015 08:53 AM
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