Before he entered the presidential race, Rick Perry knew he needed the support of evangelical Christians. But many never warmed to him, one of their own, and instead gravitated toward Rick Santorum, a Catholic.

Decades ago, it was almost unheard of to see Southern Baptists, most whom identify as evangelicals, rally behind Catholic candidates. They called Catholicism a cult and said Catholics weren’t Christian — the kind of caustic verbiage some use about Mormons like Mitt Romney.

But times changed.

In 2000, the day after winning the New Hampshire primary, George W. Bush spoke in upstate South Carolina at Bob Jones University, a fundamentalist school whose founder called Catholicism a Satantic cult.

Bush expressed regrets after being widely denounced by rival candidate John McCain and a prominent Catholic cardinal. Soon after, Congressional Democrats introduced a resolution condemning the school for intolerance.

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