The video: Texas Gov. Rick Perry raised some eyebrows — and questions about his sobriety — with an unusually expressive speech to a conservative group in Manchester, N.H., on Friday. In the speech, Perry ditched his typically reserved style and instead employed "the sort of tics, facial contortions, mimes, and muggings that one would expect from a comic performer," says Thomas Lane at Talking Points Memo. The media scuttlebutt is largely based on an anonymously posted YouTube compilation of "highlights" from the speech (watch the clip below), but even some in attendance were perplexed. "It was different," Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas told The Huffington Post. Another GOP operative said it reminded him of Democrat Howard Dean's race-ending "scream" in 2004. Perry's campaign's response? The speech simply proves that Perry is "passionate about the issues he talks about."
The reaction: Perry's performance was "truly bizarre," says Libby Spencer at The Impolitic. "He comes off as pretty well drunk. Or drugged." Yes, and though it's not a crime to be "pretty publicly lit," it's almost certainly bad politics for a presidential hopeful, says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast. Well, I doubt he's drunk, says Josh Feldman at Mediaite. But his exuberance is "fun to watch." I bet "Alec Baldwin will appreciate the material for his next Perry impersonation. Look, "we're not saying that he's definitely drunk," says Max Read at Gawker, "we're just saying, watch the whole thing" and judge for yourself. Have a look: