Perry's got a pain in the back

Last modified: 12/15/2011 12:00:00 AM
Rick Perry has turned in a series of shaky performances during national debates, struggling to remember the names of the three government agencies he pledged to cut, rambling about his views on climate change - 'Even Galileo got outvoted for a spell' - and growing visibly tired. While playing the Texas governor in a Saturday Night Live skit, Alec Baldwin fell asleep at his podium.

But Perry now says there's a simple explanation for the stumbles: back surgery.

'If there was one thing that I could change in my campaign, I would have moved that surgery I had the first of July back to the first of January,' Perry said Tuesday on Sean Hannity's radio program. 'I didn't realize it was going to have as big an impact, and frankly, I didn't even know it was having the impact it was having on me, from the standpoint of just being fatigued. And it showed up in the first few debates.'

Perry - who added that he's been running 15 to 20 miles a week and has 'never felt better' - also downplayed the importance of a strong showing in the debates.

'Americans are looking for somebody that can get this country back working again,' he said. 'We've got the perfect debater. He's in the White House, and that's not working out too well for us.'

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