HOUSTON, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry addressed a crowd of 20,000 people at a Christian rally in Houston simply as Rick Perry of Austin.
But the governor spoke to many issues that are likely to be his themes if he runs for president, Politico reported.
"Father, our heart breaks for America," Perry said in a prayer that closed his remarks. "We see discord at home, we see fear in the marketplace, we see anger in the halls of government. And as a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us."
The Response, held at Reliant Stadium, was sponsored by the American Family Association. But Perry played an active role in promoting it.
The event had been expected to draw a crowd of no more than 7,000, Politico said.
But about 20,000 showed up.
In interviews before The Response, Perry insisted the rally was non-political and unrelated to his presidential plans, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"This isn't about me," Perry said. "It's about Jesus."
The Response gave Perry a chance to reach out to conservative evangelical Christians, an important segment of Republican primary voters.