Rick Perry denies drinking or drugs influenced his strange NH speech

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Rick Perry denied Thursday that he was under the influence of alcohol or pain medication during a recent speech he gave in New Hampshire that prompted questions about the candidate's bizarre behavior.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

Responding to the suggestions by some political observers that the animated Perry may have been on pain medication for his past back surgery, the governor said: "No. I was just giving a speech."

In his interview with the Chronicle, the Texas governor said he had spine surgery on July 1, but was not taking medicine "or anything else" before last Friday's event, the newspaper's Carla Marinucci writes. Perry also rejected the accusation that his behavior-- marked by giddiness, clapping, strange speech patterns, mannerisms and comments-- was influenced by alcohol. "It wasn't that either," he said.

Perry suggested the hype was the result of a video that was edited to make him look bad.

"I've probably given 1,000 speeches. There are some that have been probably boring, some that have been animated, some that have been in between," Perry said, adding "ask the people who were there... 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."

Perry's behavior during the speech, which was given Oct. 28 in Manchester, caused a stir after someone posted clips--and the full speech--on YouTube under the headline "Is Rick Perry drunk???"

Perry's speaking ability has been a hot topic of discussion this election cycle. Following several debate stumbles, Perry recently stated that participating in debates was his greatest mistake and he threatened to cancel his future debate appearances. But Perry has already backed off that threat.

The next debate is scheduled for Nov. 9 in Michigan.

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