Concerns about the mental condition of Texas Governor Rick Perry were raised after a New Hamphire speech the presidential hopeful gave on Saturday showed him unusually out of character.
A compilation clip from the speech Perry gave in Manchester for the conservative group Cornerstone Action went viral over the weekend, prompting many to question if the candidate had been on prescription drugs to help his chronic back problems, was drinking, or perhaps both.
Speaking at the National Journal‘s 2012 Election Preview on Tuesday, GOP consultant Charlie Black called Perry’s performance “odd,” adding, “Look, he’s got a back problem, maybe it was back medicine.” Democratic consultant Steve McMahon said it looked as if Perry had been drinking, but he wasn’t sure.
Some said Perry had channeled “his inner George W. Bush.” Others even compared it to the “scream” Democrat Howard Dean gave in Iowa back in 2004.
“The best part comes after Rick Perry has finished his speech,” noted the Politicalgates blog. “He is just standing next to the podium when one of the organizers makes some very simple closing remarks, which are actually not funny, and nothing should go wrong any more, wouldn’t you think?”
Perry seemed enamored with a gift of New Hampshire maple syrop, holding it up and examining the bottle as if he had found a long-lost treasure.
After several inquires, Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner told The Huffington Post that “the Governor is passionate about the issues he talks about” in an e-mailed response.
In an interview with The Hill on Tuesday, Cornerstone Action executive director Kevin Smith denied Perry was intoxicated when he gave the speech, and the Republican drank “only water ” before giving it.
“I can tell you unequivocally he wasn’t drinking at the event and he hadn’t been drinking prior to the event,” Smith said. “I was sitting with him, and I found him to be very engaging with all of the people he was talking with, he was very articulate.”
Smith added that everyone who saw the speech that he spoke to said Perry “hit it out of the park.”