Unusual video of Perry is debated

Cal Jillson, political scientist at SMU's Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences talks about Rick Perry's recent appearance in New Hampshire

By Richard S. Dunham and Peggy Fikac

WASHINGTON — Rick Perry's presidential campaign found itself on the defensive again Monday after a YouTube video of the unusually animated candidate speaking in New Hampshire provoked widespread Internet discussion and ridicule from some pundits.

During a 25-minute appearance Friday before a conservative group known as Cornerstone, Perry grinned widely, gesticulated wildly, repeatedly contorted his face and giggled at his own jokes while delivering a variation of his standard stump speech. At one point, he launched into a riff on gold, telling his audience that he hoped that they had gold stored “in the backyard” because “if they print any more money over there in Washington, then gold's gonna be good.”

He also cradled and twirled a bottle of maple syrup given to him by his hosts....

Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson dismissed gossip about drinking or pain medication but said Perry's message “is not getting across.” He said Republicans attending his events have found his style of presentation “curious — so they end up talking more about the presentation than the message.”

“We're talking about a guy who's two months into a campaign, with two months to go before people start really casting votes, and he's gone from 25 or 30 percent (in national polls) to 5 or 6 percent,” Jillson added. “And the question of the day is, ‘Was he drunk?' This is not good. I'm no professional campaign manager, but if I was, I would think I was in trouble.”

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