Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry has received an important endorsement in South Carolina, a key battleground state for the 2012 primaries.

Former state House speaker David Wilkins, who served as George W. Bush’s ambassador to Canada, and now a top Republican mover-and-shaker in South Carolina, gave Perry a rousing welcome.

Appearing with Perry in front of hundreds of supporters in Tommy’s Country Ham House, in Greenville, Wilkins told the crowd: “I’m sure all of you have many things in common with Governor Perry, and that’s the point. Governor Perry is one of us. He is someone that we can relate to, he is someone that we can connect with; he is someone that we can believe in. And governor, South Carolina is a small state, but we have a big heart. We want our government to do a few things -- a few things -- and do them well, and then get out of the way.”

The Texas Governor Rick Perry is campaigning in a state which has large conservative and evangelical base – one of his biggest constituents. Both he and Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann are expected to do well here.

Perry told the Greenville gathering: “We’re going to campaign in South Carolina with fervor,” adding that the Palmetto State is “a conservative beacon on the eastern seaboard of this country. It is truly a bright light.”

He added: “We may talk about a hundred different issues by being asked different questions, but let me tell you, every time I’m going to come back to the issue that is most important to Americans, and that is, ‘How are we going to get this country working again, sir?’ The answer is: We’re gonna cut the taxes, we’re gonna lower the regulations, we’re gonna get the lawyers out of our business, and we’re gonna get America back working again.”

Perry also again attacked President Barack Obama.

“The Obama administration recently referred to food stamps as economic stimulus,” Perry said. “Food stamps are not the solution. They are a symptom of a problem, Mr. President. There’s too many people out of work. Most Americans don’t yearn to be dependent on government. They want economic freedom. Economic freedom comes from work and wages, not welfare. It is time for change. Not rhetoric of change, but a record of change. We will get America working again. God bless you.”