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Perry makes it officially official: He’s in 2012 presidential race

by Brad A. Greenberg

August 13, 2011 | 12:39 pm

As everyone knew he would, Texas Gov. Rick Perry officially entered the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. But in an already crowded field of Romney and Bachmann and Pawlenty and others, does Perry have much of a chance?

He does if the evangelical vote still counts for much in the Republican Party. (Hint: It does, despite old frustrations.) As CNN’s Dan Gilgoff reports:

“There’s been a significant attempt by him and his staff to reach out to conservative Christian leaders and it’s now going to a new level,” says Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Council, a conservative Christian advocacy group, talking about Perry’s outreach.

“Perry is not making the same mistake that McCain made,” Staver said. “McCain wanted Christian conservative votes but didn’t want to get too close to Christian conservative leaders.”

Kelly Shackelford, a Texas-based evangelical activist who has been close to Perry for 20 years, says he has fielded roughly 100 phone calls in recent weeks from Christian activists across the country who are eager to learn more about Perry.

“People are calling and asking, ‘Is this guy really a social conservative and a fiscal conservative?’ and it’s easy to say yes because I’ve seen it,” said Shackelford, who runs a conservative legal advocacy group called the Liberty Institute. “As far as proving himself, he’s been the most solid conservative I’ve seen anywhere in the country.”

Must have been that prayer event last weekend.

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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