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New Exposé Reveals Rick Perry's Close Ties to Radical Evangelicals and Self-Proclaimed Prophets

A group of radical Christians and self-proclaimed prophets from a little-known movement called the New Apostolic Reformation have been quietly pushing for Perry.

AMY GOODMAN: Republican Governor Rick Perry of Texas is expected to announce Saturday he’ll be entering the presidential race. Perry will make the announcement at a conference in South Carolina organized by Erick Erickson’s  RedState.com. Perry is then scheduled to travel to New Hampshire, site of the first 2012 presidential primary, and then on to Iowa.

In 2000, Perry succeeded then-Governor George W. Bush, who resigned to become president. Perry went on to win three gubernatorial terms, in 2002, 2006 and 2010. Early Perry backers, at least presidential backers, have heralded him as being behind the so-called Texas economic miracle. This TV ad has already begun airing in Iowa.

JOBS FOR IOWA AD: What if we had a candidate for president with a real record of creating jobs, a conservative with proven leadership in tough times, the leader of a state that created more jobs in the past two years than the other 49 states combined, with no state income tax and no deficit, a decade of balanced budgets? What if we had a better option for president? We do. Rick Perry. Jobs for Iowa is responsible for the content of this advertising.

AMY GOODMAN: But many have questioned Governor Perry’s economic claims in Texas. The Pulitzer Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman pointed out recent economic data suggest the Texas budget gap is worse than New York’s, about as bad as California’s, not quite up to New Jersey levels.

Questions have also arisen over Governor Perry’s close ties to the radical wing of the Christian evangelical movement. On Saturday, Perry helped organize and spoke at a controversial seven-hour Christian prayer rally in Houston called "The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis."

GOVRICK PERRY: Father, our heart breaks for America. We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government. And as a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us. And for that, we cry out for Your forgiveness.

AMY GOODMAN: Governor Perry, leading the prayer session. It drew 30,000 participants, received national press. Little attention was paid to the Christian evangelicals Perry worked with to organize the event.

The Texas Observer has just published an explosive new  article titled "Rick Perry’s Army of God." It exposes how a group of radical Christians and self-proclaimed prophets from a little-known movement known as New Apostolic Reformation have been quietly pushing for Perry to run for president. The author of the article, Forrest Wilder, is a staff reporter at the Texas Observer. He’s joining us from Austin.

Welcome to  Democracy Now!, Forrest. Talk about this event that took place. And you were there. Describe what it was like.

FORREST WILDER: Well, the response was patterned after what’s "TheCall," and TheCall are events that are put on by a group by the same name out of Kansas City. They’re day-long events of prayer and fasting. They’re usually laced with pretty hardcore anti-abortion and anti-gay messages. There was a call recently where the leader of it, Lou Engle, called for a generation of martyrs. So, The Response, in its programming and its feel, was very similar to TheCall, and that’s largely because the folks that were organizing The Response, some of the primary organizers work for TheCall. So it was an explicitly not just Christian, but explicitly evangelical or fundamentalist-type rally—same kind of music, same sort of tone, same kind of themes that ran throughout the event, and a lot of, really, the same people that move in a certain circle on the religious right.

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