SAN ANTONIO Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said on Thursday that the dispute between President Barack Obama and the Catholic church over contraception shows he was right to accuse Obama of a "War on Religion."
Perry, who quit the presidential campaign last month after a faltering performance, said that he was blasted last September for criticizing Obama as hostile to religion.
Perry ran ads before the Iowa caucuses stressing his Christian religion and saying that he would restore respect for religion if he were elected.
"But last night if you turned on a television or heard talk radio or read a newspaper this morning, that's all people are talking about, is the President's war on religion," Perry said in a telephone interview with San Antonio radio station WOAI after he spoke to a convention of conservatives in Washington.
The Obama administration has been sharply criticized by Catholic leaders for announcing last month that institutions such as hospitals and universities affiliated with religious groups must offer free contraception to women. The Catholic Church opposes most methods of birth control.
Republican presidential candidates have said the decision shows that Obama is insensitive to religion. The White House said it took the decision to ensure that all women have access to contraception and to reduce abortions.
Perry also said in the interview that he might run for president again in 2016, citing the precedent of former president Ronald Reagan's multiple White House bids.
His biggest mistake was getting into the presidential race too late in August, 2011, Perry said. He suspended his campaign in January after faring poorly in the early contests.
Perry said he has no interest in being the vice presidential nominee on the Republican presidential ticket.
(Reporting By Greg McCune)