Texas Governor Rick Perry may be sinking in the polls, but that doesn’t seem to be making him gloomy on the stump. Indeed, judging by a performance in Manchester, NH on Friday night, quite the opposite seems to be the case.
One unknown audience member cut the 25 minute speech into roughly 8 minutes of what the Huffington Post called “the giddiest and strangest moments.” However, according to a HuffPo reporter: “it does capture elements of his speech that were widely remarked upon in the crowd by those who saw the speech.” Even Machester’s mayor, Ted Gatsas said of the speech, “It was different.”
So what was so different about it? Well, it showed a very different side of Perry from the one familiar to the broader public from the debates, his sombre launch speech, and his giant prayer session.
Indeed, judging by this, if Perry misses out on the presidency then he could probably have a pretty good career as a stand-up comedian.
The speech is full of the sort of tics, facial contortions, mimes and muggings that one would expect from a comic performer.
Early on he encourages the crowd to “write your checks,” only to shift his mind a little. “Gold is good,” he tells the audience. “If you’ve got any in your backyard, ‘cause if they print any more money up there in Washington…” At this point he mimes a gesture of nervousness and also one that’s clearly meant to suggest hurried printing, before concluding, “Gold’s gonna be good.”
He’s similarly physically expressive when lauding New Hampshire for its “Live Free Or Die!” motto. “I come from a state where they have this little thing called the Alamo, and they declared ‘Victory Or Death!’” Clearly juiced, he starts to swing his fists in time with the slogans. “We’re kind of into those slogans, man. It’s like, “Live Free Or Die!” “Victory Or Death!” Bring it!”
Perry is similarly full of comic mimes when describing his tax plan. First of all he pulls a mock-up of his “flat tax” card out of his pocket with a flourish before proclaiming, “Twenty percent flat tax: put it on there, take your deductions off, send it in. Even Tim Geithner can get his taxes in on time with this, I’m telling ya.”
As he continues to describe the plan his gestures become even more expressive. He holds his hands in the air “big fish”-style to illustrate a large number, he gives an enormous thumbs-up over charitable deductions and he mimes a little bit of scribbling while summarizing his plan like this: “Easy math. Add it. Subtract it. Send it in. It’s awesome.”
Perry also uses the tax plan to get in some digs at Herman Cain, which he does with a cheeky schoolboy grin and a naughty shrug of the shoulders.
Some of his one-liners (such as the Geithner line above, in fact) have presumably been used before. But that doesn’t mean they’re not funny. Talking of how small his hometown was, he says, with good timing, “By the way, I graduated in the top *ten* of my high school class. Was that on my resume?”
The fun doesn’t end even after the speech is over. It’s hard to think of a word other than “giddy” to express his obvious amusement at being presented with New Hampshire’s “liquid gold” (maple syrup) by the following speaker.
Watch the footage below: