Texas Gov. Perry's day of prayer shadows 2012 bid

By Henry C. Jackson

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 3 2011 1:11 a.m. MDT

A sign outside Reliant Stadium lists the upcoming prayer event, The Response: a call to prayer for a nation in crisis, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Houston. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has organized a prayer meeting in Houston this weekend that could be a political double-edged sword now that he is considering running for president.

David J. Phillip, Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Rick Perry has organized a prayer meeting in Houston this weekend that could be a political double-edged sword now that he is considering running for president.

The evangelical Christian event, called "The Response," at Houston's Reliant Stadium is intended to ask God's forgiveness for the nation's moral failings. It gives Perry a chance to shore up his bona fides with the social conservative wing of the Republican Party. But some think it could also alienate independent voters, who might find its focus on the culture war distasteful.

Civil rights groups have accused some of the preachers involved of intolerance. Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, who now leads the Republican Leadership Council, said such events could make it more difficult for Perry to win a general election.

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