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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Perry Says He Wasn't Drunk

Carla Marinucci writes at The San Francisco Chronicle:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, on a fundraising swing in California, spoke at length for the first time Wednesday about his eyebrow-raising address in New Hampshire last week that has gone viral on the Internet, saying it was "a pretty typical speech for me" and denying suggestions that he seemed to be on medication or under the influence of alcohol.

The clip, described by some as bizarre and incoherent, shows Perry mugging, joking and playing with the audience as he describes New Hampshire's motto, "Live Free or Die" as "cool" and appears to collapse in giggles over a gift of maple syrup.

Perry shrugged off the criticism and appeared flummoxed by the attention to the address.

"I've probably given 1,000 speeches. There are some that have been probably boring, some that have been animated, some that have been in between," he said.

But "ask the people who were there," he said, "not some political opponent who has put a video up. The people there were responding to the speech ... clapping at all the right places - and there was a standing ovation at the end."

Responding to the suggestions by some political observers that the animated Perry may have been on pain medication for his past back surgery, the governor said: "No. I was just giving a speech."

"I had spine surgery on the first of July, but I ran this morning," he said, adding that he was not taking pain medication or anything else before Friday's event, and in fact was back on his regular running routine.

Asked about "The Daily Show" comedian Jon Stewart's suggestion that Perry looked like he had been drinking, the governor said, "It wasn't that either."

"It's not that I wouldn't love to sit down with Jon and have a glass of wine," he said with a laugh, adding "if he'll buy."