Rock Hill, S.C. -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry's lagging campaign today was subjected to one of the depressing rituals of trailing candidates: a rumor -- untrue, his aides told The Huffington Post as fast as they could -- that he was dropping out of the race.
The proximate cause was the Perry camp's last minute cancellation of an appearance at Bob Jones University, a standard stop for conservative candidates.
"We had to rearrange the schedule and that suddenly morphed into a story that we were dropping out," said Ray Sullivan, his national communications director. "It's not true."
According to Sullivan, Perry has two TV appearances tonight and two campaign stops in South Carolina before he heads to Charleston to prepare for tomorrow night's CNN debate.
"He'll be at the debate," said Sullivan. "He's not dropping out."
Under some scenarios, Perry could drop out before Saturday and still have some minimal effect on the campaign. If he waits until Sunday, and the results, his expected poor finish would diminish the impact of any move.