News magazine Time has an interesting story about a group of prominent figures on the Christian Right, who held a conference call in June to discuss their dissatisfaction with the current GOP presidential field.
The group did agree that Texas governor Rick Perry would be their preferred candidate if he entered the race. Among those on the call were Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council; David Barton, the Texas activist and go-to historian for the Christian Right; and John Hagee, the controversial San Antonio pastor whose endorsement John McCain rejected in 2008, Time reports:
“What’s wrong with the existing crop of candidates? Tim Pawlenty has the support of evangelical leaders outside the Christian Right–in a recent survey of the board of directors of the National Association of Evangelicals, 45% named Pawlenty as their preferred GOP nominee.
"However, that impressive result may have something to do with the fact that the NAE president, Leith Anderson, is Pawlenty’s pastor and may not be representative of broader evangelical opinion. Mitt Romney ran into problems with evangelicals in 2008 because of his Mormon faith, and his recent refusal to sign an anti-abortion organization’s campaign pledge did nothing to win over his critics.
“Meanwhile, no one questions the social conservative credentials of Rick Santorum or Michele Bachmann. But Santorum’s poll numbers in Iowa are smaller than the number of children he has.
"And while Bachmann has been on a hot streak since the first candidate’s debate, Christian Right leaders continue to be far less willing to embrace her (or Sarah Palin, for that matter) than the rank-and-file or more secular politicos. Is that sexism at work? Possibly. Maybe even probably. But geography is an important factor as well. Many Christian Right leaders think the GOP primary schedule favors a Southern candidate. And southern Minnesota does not count.”