Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry on Thursday did his best to pander to evangelical voters in Iowa with several references to Tim Tebow, an NFL quarterback for the Denver Broncos who is credits God for his recent streak of wins.

"I'm kind of getting where I like these debates," Perry declared. "As a matter of fact, I hope Obama and I debate a lot, and I'll get there early and we will get it on!"

"There are a lot of folks out there out there, I understand it -- there are a lot of folks out there that said Tim Tebow wasn't going to be a very good NFL quarterback. There are people that stood up and said, 'Well, he doesn't have the right throwing mechanisms or he's not playing the game right.' And, you know, he won two national championships and that looked pretty good. We were the national champions in job creation back in Texas."

He added: "And so, am I ready for the next level? Let me tell you, I hope I am the Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses!"

That remark was met by mixed groans and applause from the conservative audience.

Watch this video from Fox News, broadcast Dec. 15, 2011.