Ron Paul Has No Idea What Was Happening in This Photo

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Texas Governor Rick Perry (L) talks during a break with Rep. Ron Paul, (R-TX) on stage at the Reagan Centennial GOP presidential primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California September 7, 2011.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni   (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
Texas Governor Rick Perry (L) talks during a break with Rep. Ron Paul, (R-TX) on stage at the Reagan Centennial GOP presidential primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California September 7, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) Photo: ? Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

Ron Paul's legion of loyal fans are known for being protective of their candidate, whether he's been criticized in any way, underestimated, or simply ignored. So when a photo appeared showing Rick Perry sternly waving a finger in Paul's face and even grabbing him by the arm during a break in the action at Wednesday night's debate, you knew it was going to cause a ruckus. On RonPaul.com, comments in a post about the photo ranged from the mild "I honestly bet that Paul could kick Perrys [sic] ass if he pushed it" to the more intense "Body Guard should have grabbed rick perrys [sic] arm and twisted it off."

The two Texas Republicans don't exactly have the best relationship. A Paul ad had called Perry Al Gore's "cheerleader" earlier in the week, and during the debate, Paul hammered Perry "on everything from his conservative credentials to his record on job creation in the state of Texas," according to ABC News. "Paul even threw punches over Perry’s support of Hillary Clinton’s failed health care initiative back in 1994, something Perry now says was a mistake."

Of course, photos can be deceiving, and while this one is genuinely intriguing, it's hard to tell whether the conversation was as intense as it appears. It would be great if either Paul or Perry could enlighten the rest of us about what transpired. Unfortunately, Paul claims he can't even remember what they were talking about, although, whatever it was, there were no "cross words."

Meanwhile, Paul's spokesman, according to Ben Smith, says Paul and Perry merely "had a cordial conversation about border security," the least dramatic explanation imaginable.

Paul can't recall what Perry said [Politico]
Force vs. Reason: Rick Perry Gets in Ron Paul’s Face [RonPaul.com]