Is Rick Perry being targeted in the Republican presidential campaign because of his Christian faith?
That's what the Texas governor's wife suggested at a campaign stop in South Carolina Thursday—a sentiment that was subsequently backed up by Perry himself in an interview Friday with ABC's Good Morning America.
In a speech at North Greenville University, Anita Perry became emotional discussing her husband's rough few weeks on the campaign trail, implying he's come under attack because of his faith.
"It's been a rough month. We have been brutalized and beaten up and chewed up in the press to where I need this today," she said, per NBC's Ali Weinberg. "We are being brutalized by our opponents and our own party. So much of that is, I think they look at him, because of his faith. He is the only true conservative — well, there are some true conservatives. And they're there for good reasons. And they may feel like God called them too. But I truly feel like we are here for that purpose."
Asked about his wife's comments by ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Perry said he agreed with her.
"I'll stand by my wife. I think she's right on both cases. My understanding is that she said I'm the most conservative candidate in the race and 'he's a Christian.' So I haven't got anything I can add to that and she's hit me on my mark both times there," the governor said.
You can watch the interview below, courtesy ABC News:
Perry's comments come just days after he came under fire for refusing to repudiate Texas pastor Robert Jeffress for suggesting Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon, is a cultist. The pastor, who has endorsed Perry's campaign, made the remark as he introduced the Texas governor at the Values Voter Summit in Washington last week.
Asked again Friday if he would repudiate Jeffress, Perry said he would not, even though he added he didn't endorse what the pastor had said.
"I have a lot of people that endorse me but I don't endorse what they say or what they believe for that matter and that's the case on this one. I can't control those individuals who go out and say something who may be for me in a race," Perry said. "I'm not going to say that he can't say what he wants to say… This is a country where we truly have freedom of expression."
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