First Baptist Dallas's Robert Jeffress is throwing in with Rick Perry, which is hardly a surprise given Jeffress's participation in that meeting with Perry and pastors back in June at James Robison's LIFE Outreach International campus in Euless. (Also: Jeffress would never, ever endorse Mitt Romney. Not ever.) But he made it official this morning with a statement released in advance of Perry's appearance at Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council's annual Values Voter Summit in D.C., where the governor and Observer cover boy will speak in about an hour. Matter of fact, Jeffress will introduce Perry.
Says the release, "Jeffress' introduction will serve as his official endorsement of his fellow Texan, and is a first for the Pastor who has never publicly stood behind any political candidate." To which the pastor adds, in part:
"Replacing Barack Obama is more than a political issue, it is a spiritual issue. ...[And] conservative Christians will have a choice to make. Do we want a candidate who is skilled in rhetoric, or one who is skilled in leadership? Do we want someone who is a conservative out of convenience, or one who is a conservative out of conviction? Do we want a candidate who is a good, moral person, or one who is a born again follower of Jesus Christ? I believe that in Rick Perry we have a candidate who is a proven leader, a true conservative, and a committed follower of Christ."
Read the whole thing here.
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Update at 2:45 p.m.: On the other side is the video of Jeffress's introduction of Perry this afternoon.
Update at 5:05 p.m.: Jeffress was on CNN about an hour ago -- and, again, moments ago -- referring, yet again, to Mormonism as "a cult," one among many reasons he can't support Romney. That video also follows.