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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / CAMPAIGN 2012

Perry Defends 'Odd' Video

Texas governor shrugs off pundits' criticism of "silly" behavior.

Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry holds up the tax form he says that American's would fill out as he outlined a broad economic proposal of a flat 20 percent income tax rate during a news conference Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, at the State House in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)(AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

photo of Rebecca Kaplan
November 1, 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Hours after several well-known political pundits commented publicly on his "odd" behavior at a New Hampshire banquet last week, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry on Tuesday shrugged off the buzz surrounding a video of the event that has gone viral.

"I would always tell people to go back and ask Dan Balz," Perry told reporters at a campaign stop, referring to a weekend column in which the veteran Washington Post reporter described Perry as "loose, extremely animated, and even playful" when he spoke on Friday to a banquet of conservative activists in Manchester, N.H. "This was a great crowd, good response, and I guess you can do anything you want with a video and make it look any way you want, but it felt good, felt great," Perry said. "I felt the message got across very well."

 

The performance got distinctly different reviews on Tuesday morning at National Journal's Election Preview. Two veteran political strategists suggested that Perry was under the influence. The Texas governor's ebullient performance was "not presidential," said Democratic consultant Steve McMahon, adding, "Perhaps he had been drinking." Republican Charlie Black, who advised former presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush, agreed that Perry's behavior was "odd." Noting that Perry has had back surgery, Black added: "Maybe it was back medicine that he had too much of."

Moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS said the governor was "sort of acting silly."

Perry did not appear dismayed by the reviews from Washington. Asked if the New Hampshire performance represented "a Rick Perry we can expect to see more," the governor promised he will be "very energized, very focused."

He refused to comment on the controversy surrounding one of his rivals, Herman Cain, who has spent the past 72 hours trying to explain sexual harassment charges that he acknowledges were filed against him by at least one female subordinate. "Until things go past allegation to fact, I just try to leave them alone," Perry said.

WATCH Perry at the New Hampshire banquet:

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