Rick Perry Wasn’t Drunk While Speaking in New Hampshire

Rick Perry’s recent speech in New Hampshire left many people asking if he was drunk or using prescription medication when he took the podium.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's bizarre speech to a right-wing New Hampshire group has pundits wondering whether he was intoxicated, and what it will do to his presidential campaign. Photo: The Seo Duke/Flickr

His animated body gestures and voice isn’t the norm for Rick Perry. This bizarre appearance left many people with their jaws dropping as Perry continued on like this for 25 minutes.

He wasn’t slurring his words, he was gregarious and sarcastic along with animation that’s exaggerated for anyone, especially the usual business-like GOP candidate.

A video featuring clips of Perry’s speech went viral this weekend and has since been viewed on YouTube by more than 600,000 people.

“I can tell you unequivocally he wasn’t drinking at the event and he hadn’t been drinking prior to the event,” said Kevin Smith, the executive director of Cornerstone Action, the conservative group that hosted the event over the weekend.

“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.”

According to Smith, Perry drank “only water” in the period leading up to his address. He also said that the general reaction by the Granite State audience had been, “wow, he hit it out of the park” with the speech.

Smith spent much of the time before the speech with Perry, including dining with him at the event’s head table beforehand.

 “When I started seeing all of the blog stuff going up on Sunday and the video going viral it caught me by surprise,” said Smith. “He was definitely more animated than we’ve seen him during the campaign but the reports that he was buzzed or whatever never crossed any of our minds.”

Perry campaign’s response to the footage has been minimal and matter-of-fact.

“The Governor is passionate about the issues he talks about,” Perry spokesman Mark Miner said in an email to HuffPost over the weekend.

At the same time, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow took the speech to task Monday, saying, “I would argue that Rick Perry can really no longer be considered a serious contender for president after this … Once you see this tape, you’ll never look at this guy the same way again.”

But Smith said that despite media reports to the contrary, he thought it was one of Perry’s stronger speeches since he became a candidate.

“The people there loved the speech. The reaction I was getting was ‘wow, he hit it out of the park’ — people were saying that was the Perry they wished they’d see during the debates,” he said. “He was loose and passionate. He got a great reaction from the audience.”

A video featuring clips of Perry’s speech went viral this weekend and has since been viewed on YouTube by more than 600,000 people.

The eight-minute video shows a punchy Perry joking about how “cool” New Hampshire’s state slogan is, making fun of rival Herman Cain’s tax plan and giggling when presented with a bottle of maple syrup from the event’s organizers.[via Huff Post, The Hill and Gather]

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