For reasons unclear to almost everyone, Rick Perry is still trying to win the Republican presidential nomination, which is why he was looking for votes today at the Squat N' Gobble, a restaurant in Bluffton, South Carolina. The event went smoothly, except for one embarrassing incident, according to a write-up in the Los Angeles Times:
After Perry left, walking by a mannequin wearing a Squat N’ Gobble t-shirt whose hand was raised above her head — a hand Perry tried to call on during a question-and-answer period — a spirited political discussion broke out in the restaurant, with some patrons waving Nobama ’12 bumper stickers.
Perry hasn't exactly shown himself to be the sharpest tool in the shed these past few months, but calling on a mannequin? That seems too dumb, even for him. And according to waitress Jeanne VanBuskirk, who picked up the phone at The Gobble when we called a few minutes ago, it actually is. "He just did it as a joke, yeah," she told us when we asked about MannequinGate. "We all thought it was funny." If that's true, it sort of seems like a detail that should have been included in the Times write-up, no?
Update: We just heard back from Alana Semuels, the author of the mannequin story in the Los Angeles Times. Here's exactly what happened, as she saw it:
"I think he thought it was a person out of the corner of his eye," she told us in an email. "He turned to it, having just opened the q and a period, since it had its hand straight up in the air, and no one else did. He immediately realized it was a mannequin, and made fun of himself by saying 'I thought this lady had her hand up over here,' gesturing to the mannequin, To be fair, I thought it was a person too at first."
Update II: Finally, we have some video, and it looks like he knew it was a piece of human-shaped plastic the whole time.