Today in Perry: The Governor’s Campaign Continues Sliding

A group of evangelicals endorse Rick Santorum, Rick Perry defends the corpse desecrating-Marines, and the governor (and his hair) seem visibly shaken in South Carolina.
Tue January 17, 2012 7:40 pm
Associated Press | Matt Rourke

Evangelicals Choose a Different Rick
A large group of evangelical leaders gathered on the Brenham ranch of former judge Paul Pressler over the weekend and delivered Rick Perry a resounding blow on his home turf by voting to endorse Rick Santorum.

The American Prospect’s Patrick Caldwell noted that 85 of 114 votes were cast for Santorum, whose chances are viewed to be better than those of Perry’s. The evangelical “bigwigs” in attendance included Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, the American Family Association’s Donald Wildmon, and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins.

Each major candidate except for Jon Huntsman had someone on hand to stump for him, the Texas Tribune’s Jay Root reported. “State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, was one of the Perry backers who spoke at the meeting. So did Texas pastor Rick Scarborough, one knowledgeable source said,” Root wrote.

The assembled leaders would still support Perry over Romney, however. “Based upon what participants said … if Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, or Rick Santorum would clear the nomination, there would be passionate support,” Perkins told reporters on a conference call. “Beyond that, I can’t necessarily say.”

When reporters on the trail asked Perry about the endorsement on Saturday, he walked away, Root reported.

In Which Perry Defends Corpse Desecration
On CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, Rick Perry ran to the defense of the Marines who allegedly urinated on Taliban corpses in a YouTube clip. “Obviously, eighteen, nineteen-year-old kids make stupid mistakes all too often, and that’s what’s occurred here,” he said, adding that he saw the Obama administration’s “disdain for the military” in their “over-the-top” rhetoric about the incident. (Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has called the servicemen’s apparent actions “utterly deplorable.”) “These kids made a mistake, there’s no doubt about it,” Perry told CNN’s Candy Crowley. “But to call it a criminal act, I think, is over the top.”

Critics were quick to slam Perry. “What would you call it, Gov. Perry? Desecration of enemy corpses is clearly forbidden by the Geneva Convention,” wrote Dan Turner at Los Angeles Times‘ Opinion L.A. blog:

[Perry] seems to think it would be

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