Texas Gov. Rick Perry is spending $80,000 on new advertising in Iowa just a month before the first votes of the 2012 presidential campaign are cast there.
In an overt move to drum up favor with evangelical voters in Iowa, the Perry campaign released an ad in the state today talking about the role that faith plays in his life.
"Now, some liberals say that faith is a sign of weakness. Well, they're wrong. I think we all need God's help,” Perry says in the 30-second television spot, which features him talking directly to camera against a white background. “America's greatest leaders have been people of strong faith, strong values. That makes for a strong America."
If discussing his faith means drawing in evangelical voters in Iowa, Perry can’t afford to be quiet on the subject. The state’s evangelical voters make up about 60 percent of caucus participants, and Perry is polling in single digits in the state.
The ad is his third from Perry to grace the television sets of Iowa voters in two days. Yesterday he unveiled two ads, one focusing on his energy plan, and another making fun of his infamous debate memory lapse.
The latest ads are appearing in the Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Omaha and Sioux City markets, according to a source with knowledge of the buy, and bring Perry's national advertising budget to $3.6 million so far. At the same time, a pro-Perry Super PAC, Make Us Great Again, will blanket Iowa and South Carolina with a $278,000 buy this week. Nationally, the super PAC has spent $943,000 on pro-Perry ads.
While Perry has preferred to focus on the economy in speeches, he has not shied away from emphasizing his ties to the evangelical community. A week before announcing his candidacy, the Texas governor held a day of prayer in Houston called “The Response” that drew about 30,000 people. But on the campaign trail, Perry has largely steered clear of discussing his faith, except in events that were explicitly about faith, such as a convocation speech at Liberty University and a Faith and Freedom Coalition dinner in Iowa.
Perry ends the ad by saying, "I'm Rick Perry, I'm not ashamed to talk about my faith, and I approve this message."
He has taken to getting creative with the required candidate tagline in his recent ads. The energy and jobs spot ended with him saying, "I'm Rick Perry. I approve this message because it's high time we kick our foreign oil habit." And he was self-deprecating in the Leno spot: "I'm Rick Perry and...what's that line again?" he joked.