Two Republican presidential prospects, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, will speak at Liberty University in September, LU Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. said on Friday.
Bachmann, founder of the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives, is an announced candidate for the Republican Party's presidential nomination.
Perry, in his 10th year as governor of Texas, has said publicly that he's thinking about running for the GOP nomination for president. He, too, is popular with tea party followers.
"Since Liberty is the world's largest Christian university, we think it is important to expose the students to as many candidates as possible," Falwell said.
Candidates should be able to take some cues from the students, as well, Falwell said.
"How well they are received at Liberty will be a good indicator for how they will be received in Christian circles nationwide," Falwell said.
Perry will speak at one of LU's thrice-weekly convocations on Sept 14.
Bachmann is scheduled to speak at a convocation Sept. 28.
LU spokesman Johnnie Moore said the university invited both Perry and Bachmann to speak several months ago, before they became likely presidential prospects. Bachmann's invitation was extended last spring, and Perry was invited last year but his schedule didn't fit, Moore said.
Falwell said he had never met Perry or Bachmann. "I look forward to meeting them and finding out more about them," he said. Falwell also said he does not have a favorite candidate in the GOP presidential field. "I think it's too early" to pick one, he said.
Visits from presidential candidates are not unusual at LU.
Newt Gingrich has spoken there, and Mike Huckabee spoke at the university when he was a contender in the early stages of the 2008 campaign. Ron Paul was there, too, in February of 2008.
Perry succeeded George W. Bush as governor of Texas after Bush won the presidential election in 2000. He has been elected to an unprecedented three full terms since then, the latest in 2010.
Since the Texas legislature adjourned for the year, Perry has scheduled nearly a dozen trips over the next few months all over the country, including one in Lynchburg.
Perry has traveled to more than a dozen cities on a book-signing tour and served up anti-Washington rhetoric in several speaking engagements.
Bachmann was elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 and forged a conservative record in Congress.
Bachmann participated in the second Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire on June 13, and she formally announced her candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on June 27.