Texas Gov. Rick Perry sent a strong message to the nation's evangelicals today: He is a member of the important constituency for Republicans that he soon may call upon to help him secure the GOP presidential nomination. The state's longest serving governor hosted what he called a national day of prayer, an event at Reliant Arena in Houston that drew roughly 30,000 people and was broadcast on cable Christian channels and the Internet. The moment gave Perry a national spotlight before a pivotal voting group in the GOP nomination fight as he nears a decision on whether to run for president.
"Father, our heart breaks for America," Perry said in 12 minutes of remarks that included prayer and Bible passages, but no direct mention of politics or his presidential plans. "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." He asked Christians to turn to God for answers to the nation's troubles, and he asked the audience to pray for President Obama as well as for the American troops killed today in Afghanistan. (Read more Rick Perry stories.)