From media mavens to grassroots activists, conservative Christian leaders have been heaping praise on presidential candidate Rick Perry, an early but important show of support from a vital GOP constituency.
Initially unimpressed with the 2012 presidential field, some of these evangelicals heralded Perry's late entry as the second coming of Ronald Reagan. Like Reagan, they say, Perry is a big-state governor, a staunch conservative and, significantly, a fellow Christian.
Perry, in turn, has suffused his campaign with religion, building on strategies honed for years in Texas politics. He has huddled with social conservatives at a Texas retreat, hosted a high-profile Christian prayer rally in Houston and recited his prodigal-son spiritual testimony at the late Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.
On September 20, Perry said his Christian faith includes a "clear …