Rick Perry says he wasn’t speaking under the influence.
Weighing in on his much-commented-upon speech to a New Hampshire audience last week, the Republican presidential candidate told the San Francisco Chronicle that his performance was “pretty typical” and that neither drink nor pain medication had anything to do with it.
Perry’s unusually animated performance prompted speculation otherwise. At an Election Preview sponsored by National Journal on Tuesday, several well-known pundits suggested that alcohol or medication for the Texas governor’s chronic back problems might have affected his behavior.
"Ask the people who were there," the Chronicle quotes Perry as saying, "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."
He denied having taken any pain medication for his back—Perry had spine surgery in July—or, as comedian Jon Stewart also suggested, having had a few drinks.
"It wasn't that either," he told the newspaper. "It's not that I wouldn't love to sit down with Jon and have a glass of wine—if he'll buy."