WASHINGTON (RNS) Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty has sharpened efforts to woo evangelical voters in Iowa by releasing a video where he speaks candidly about his faith and controversial faith-related issues.
The video, which featured Pawlenty and his wife, Mary, taking turns discussing their faith, included a number of hot-button religious issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and the separation of church and state.
“The separation of church and state was meant to protect people of faith from government, not government from people of faith,” he said. “I think the founders of this nation made it very clear: we were founded as a nation `under God.”’
Pawlenty also spoke of his own personal faith journey from Catholicism to evangelicalism after meeting his wife, saying, “We wanted to make sure our faith lives were unified.”
The video appeared to be aimed at gaining support among evangelical voters, who hold particular sway in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation GOP caucuses.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, daughter of former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and a current adviser for Pawlenty’s campaign, sent an email to Iowa voters and former Huckabee supporters with a link to the video, touting it as proof that Pawlenty “gets it.”
Speaking as an evangelical, she noted, “While some speak our language out of political convenience, the Pawlentys’ words are rooted in core convictions.”