Texas governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry wasn't orating while intoxicated when he delivered an unusual speech in New Hampshire over the weekend, the host of the event claimed Tuesday in an interview with The Hill.
"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, executive director of conservative group Cornerstone Action, which organized the event, told The Hill. "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.
While those in attendance may have viewed the speech as a big success, much of the media reaction to it has treated it like a strike out.
HuffPost's Jon Ward reported on a montage of Perry's remarks that surfaced after his appearance:
But while the video is designed to make Perry look bad, it does capture elements of his speech that were widely remarked upon in the crowd by those who saw the speech.
"It was different," Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas told HuffPost after the speech.
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."
So far, the 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.
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