Rick Perry finally found a sense of vigor and cowboy swagger when he took the debate stage at Drake University this weekend. In previous debates, the Texas governor either stumbled his way through inept and forgetful answers, or would just assume a sleepy gaze during the second half with nothing to add to the proceedings. But in the latest contest, he ripped into Mitt Romney, instigating the night's most memorable moment when Romney reached his hand over and offered a $10,000 bet against Perry.
Where'd this new fire come from? In an interview with the Des Moines Register's Kathie Obradovich Perry hinted at one possibility:
My back is great. I’m back running again for the last six weeks. I think part of the reason you have seen a somewhat different candidate on the debates is my health, and (I’m) both physically and mentally just back in the game. You have fusion on your back, and it takes you a while to get back on your game… I would suggest to you that I was pretty fatigued. No excuses. It was error. It’s what it is.
I've never had back surgery, but it seems reasonable to assume that it would zap some of the energy required for the long, grueling haul of running a presidential campaign. Or it's just a convenient excuse to disregard his previous pratfalls. When Vanity Fair recently reported speculation that Perry's post-surgery fatigue might explain his lackluster performance, the Perry campaign blasted the article as the usual attack originating in liberal media (for the record, as a card carrying member of the actually liberal media, I wouldn't include Vanity Fair among our brethren). "The article is much less than meets the eye," his campaign said. "Typical liberal mag rehashing tired and false political attacks sourcing the usual liberal lobbyists, liberal reporters and Democrats."