In September — following Rick Perry’s disastrous showing in the Orlando debate – I was the first national reporter to suggest the possibility that the Texas governor was suffering from after-effects of his July back surgery. The next day, a top Perry campaign adviser denied (to the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin) that the flopping front-runner had any pain problem or was on medication.
Now, however, the candidate himself has confirmed his back surgery was a problem in an interview with the Des Moines Register:
Q: You struggled in the early debates. Do you regret not getting out to Iowa earlier to get your feet wet?
A: Looking back and trying to “would have, could have, should have” is an interesting question to ask, but the facts are the facts. I didn’t even make the decision to run until very late June, and I had surgery on my back in very late July.
Q: How is your back?
A: 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.
Q: So were you not feeling good in those early debates?
A: I would suggest to you that I was pretty fatigued.
So the tip I got (from blogger Brian Ledbetter) appears to have been accurate, which raises the question: Why did Perry’s advisers deny the problem in September, if Perry evidently was willing to admit it?