Perry stands by wife's comments that family 'brutalized' for faith

Rick Perry on Friday stood by controversial remarks made by his wife and predicted his campaign would regain momentum.

Perry, who has sunk in polls and taken shots from fellow Republicans and conservatives, said the slings and arrows of a campaign can be tougher on a candidate's family than on the candidate himself. 

“Family members generally take these campaigns harder than anyone else,” Perry said in an interview on ABC. “I'll stand by my wife, I think she's right on both cases.”

Anita Perry on Thursday said her husband had been “brutalized by our opponents, and our own party. So much of that is, I think they look at him, because of his faith.”

Perry predicted his campaign would swing back as voters learn more about how Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan would affect them. Cain, a businessman who proposes a 9 percent sales, income and corporate tax to replace the current tax system, has shot up in polls as Perry has fallen. 

While Cain “is one of the most interesting people sitting on that stage,” Perry said he believes voters will return to his campaign once they learn the specifics of Cain's now-famous 9-9-9 plan.

“I think once this really gets looked at — sounds pretty cool to just say 9-9-9 — but at the end of the day, it's a big tax increase on people that vote, who care, and I think it's going to be tough sledding for 9-9-9,” Perry said.

“When you look at the 9 percent increase in states that already have a sales tax, then you're going to really see some pushback from people.”

Perry is expected to introduce his jobs and economic plan later Friday in Pittsburgh.

Perry was also asked about Pastor Robert Jeffress, who introduced Perry at the Values Voter Summit last Friday in Washington and said in remarks to reporters afterward that the view that Mormonisim is a “cult” is not “a right-wing fringe” view, but rather “a mainstream view.” But Perry said that while he did not agree with Jeffress's views, he would not denounce him out of respect for freedom of speech and religion.

“This is about freedom of speech, I mean, freedom of religion, our Founding Fathers were pretty wise,” Perry said. “I'm not going to say he can't say what he wants to say.”

Perry said that he couldn't be expected to police everyone who supported him.

“I have a lot of people who endorse me, but I don't endorse what they say, or what they believe for that matter, and that's the case on this one,” Perry said. “I can't control those individuals who go out and say something that may be for me in a race.”