Nightly News   |  October 13, 2011

Anita Perry’s emotional day

At a prayer breakfast in South Carolina, where 60 percent of Republican voters say they are Christian, Gov. Rick Perry’s wife Anita exposed both her deep Christian faith and deep frustration over attacks on her husband's campaign. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell has more.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: And now we turn to politics, the campaign for president and a rare moment of candor today from the spouse of a candidate for the GOP nomination. She spoke honestly and emotionally about the toll it takes to run on her and her husband, the governor of Texas , Rick Perry . She also talked about President Obama . Our report tonight from NBC 's Kelly O'Donnell .

Ms. ANITA PERRY: Hello there. How are you? Anita .

KELLY O'DONNELL reporting: A public display of the private side of Anita Perry today, exposing both her deep Christian faith ...

Offscreen Voice: Christ 's sake, amen.

Ms. PERRY: Amen.

O'DONNELL: ...and deep frustration over attacks on her husband's campaign.

Ms. PERRY: We've been brutalized by our opponents in our own party. So much of that is I think they look at him because of his faith.

O'DONNELL: At a prayer breakfast in South Carolina , where 60 percent of Republican voters say they are Christian, today Mrs. Perry wiped tears, recalling her grandfather who had been a deacon, then used biblical references to declare God revealed to her that her husband of 29 years should run for president.

Ms. PERRY: He felt like he needed to see the burning bush . I said, 'Look, let me tell you something. You may not see that burning bush , but there are people seeing that burning bush for you.'

O'DONNELL: Governor Perry 's campaign soared at first but faded after poor debate performances.

Ms. PERRY: I think the debates have been unfair. I think he's been the recipient of arrows.

O'DONNELL: Mrs. Perry 's tone took on a sharp edge later today at more secular campaign events, mocking GOP candidate Herman Cain 's 999 tax plan...

Ms. PERRY: When I hear 999, I want to call 911.

O'DONNELL: ...and the president.

Ms. PERRY: Someone said it may take 40 years to recover from President Obama . I'm like you. If we get -- if he's re-elected, I don't know that 40 years is going to be enough.

O'DONNELL: Although Anita Perry has been first lady longer than anyone in Texas history , that public life has apparently not made the scrutiny and strain any easier seeing her husband run for president. Kelly O'Donnell, NBC News, Washington.