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Rick Perry's anti-gay ad splits campaign staff, draws negative reaction

A recent Perry ad criticizing the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and "liberal attacks" against Christianity has caused quite a stir from the public and even his own staff.

Rick Perry anti-gay ad  2011 12 8Enlarge
Texas Gov. Rick Perry's latest ad has had some scratching their heads, even from his staffers (Michael Nagle/AFP/Getty Images)

A recent anti-gay ad from Texas Gov. Rick Perry has caused a surge of largely negative online reaction in a campaign move even the candidate’s top pollster, Tony Fabrizio called “nuts.”

“I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school,” Perry starts the 30-second ad saying.

The video, which was uploaded Tuesday, went viral with over 3.2 million views. A near half million, or 97 percent of those who rated the video, have voted to dislike the ad. Nearly 70 comments were posted on the YouTube page before comments were disabled.

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Perry finishes by saying “As President, I'll end Obama's war on religion. And I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.”

The ad has sparked anger from the LGBT community. "Perry said in the ad that the service of tens of thousands of patriotic gay Americans is what's wrong in this country," said Jimmy LaSalvia, co-founder and executive director of GOProud, a LGBT organization that one of Perry’s consultants works with. "That is an outrageous and un-American statement."

Oddly enough, Perry is seen in the video donning a strikingly similar jacket to what Heath Ledger wore in the 2005 movie Brokeback Mountain which was about, of course, a gay romance.

The Huffington Post wrote that the ad’s opposition was “for good reason: the spot leans heavily on outdated cultural norms, and even among some in the GOP tent there is a real reluctance to demonize gay rights.”

The video criticizing the repeal of the US military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy reportedly split Perry’s campaign staffers. Nelson Warfield, one of Perry’s top aides, told HuffPo via email the ad was entirely his creation.

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"It was the source of some extended conversation in the campaign,” Warfield wrote. "To be very clear: That spot was mine from writing the poll question to test[ing] it to drafting the script to overseeing production."

An atheist parody of Perry’s ad published Thursday has garnered over half a million views:

Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan defended the video, insisting "This ad is about the governor's faith, the governor's belief and his campaign, not about any one else."

Social media users have both supported and criticized Perry for the video:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/111209/rick-perry-viral-anti-gay-ad-splits-campaign