Rick Perry leads prayers for jobs, becomes the great Republican hope.

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Aug. 6 2011 8:00 PM

And God Will Send Rick Perry

Amid prayers for jobs and investment portfolios, the Texas governor becomes the great Republican hope.

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Melissa Puckett, a ConocoPhillips worker from the Houston suburbs, stands next to the railing with her hand held out and her eyes closed. For more than 10 minutes, she incants a prayer for the protesters.

"Please let them hear you, Lord," she says. "If there is one word you can say to them, please shoot it out to them. Let them hear it."

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The scene below, all those signs and rainbow flags, just makes her sad. "It's tough right now," she says. "When I'm hurting, I know I can rely on Christ. When they're hurting, they can't do that. They don't believe in Him, but it's not their fault."

Back under the air conditioners, Perry has emerged again to help close out the event. He shakes hands or slaps the backs of all the musicians who'd been supplying the power-chord hymns and all the pastors who'd brought the audience to tears.

"This is a day that people are gonna discuss for years to come," he says. "I sincerely pray that our willingness to stand in the public square, to acknowledge the God who made us, will inspire others to embrace his love."