World-renowned Perry-watcher Paul Burka of Texas Monthly wonders whether Rick Perry is still suffering from his July back surgery:
Perry was clearly off his game during the tea party debate. He looked uncomfortable, his face was strained, his combativeness was muted. He looked to me like a man with back pain. I wondered if he were wearing a brace. I’ve had back surgery, and it hurt to watch him ... He was low-energy and the feistiness wasn’t there. That’s why I’m wondering whether the back operation didn’t go well, or whether he got irked because Bachmann got to his right on the HPV issue. Another explanation could be that Perry has been around so long and has been so successful in politics that our expectations are high, and they are hard to meet. He just didn’t seem presidential, and I think the reason was that he was hurting ... I am beginning to wonder whether he will have the stamina to hold up to the demands of a grueling campaign if his back is injured. For now, that’s just as big a threat as Romney is.
Not that we're nearly as familiar with Perry as Burka is, but if you ask us, this might be reading into things a bit. Maybe Perry appeared uncomfortable at times because he was being mercilessly attacked by nearly everyone on stage?
Not Rick Perry’s night [BurkaBlog/Texas Monthly]