Rick Perry’s Texas side was on full display at Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas. Every time he could throw in a hand gesture or an aw, shucks, he did it. It had an effect — Perry seemed more comfortable on the debate stage in Vegas than he has in the campaign so far, and more than a few pundits said he came away stronger than he went in.
But some of his good ol’ boy antics raised eyebrows. While tearing into Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, Perry called Cain “brother,” twice. Then, while he turned his ire on Mitt Romney, Perry called the former governor of Massachusetts “sir” (disdainfully, to be sure) more than once.
People noticed the difference. The Washington Post’s Nia-Malika Henderson compiled this rundown of concerns about the different terms.
Time’s Jay Newton-Small also picked up on it:
For a man in trouble for once upon a time having a hunting camp with a racial-charged name, should Rick Perry be calling Herman Cain “brother”? Or offering to bump fists with him? Perry certainly didn’t call any of the other candidates “brother” last night. Just saying…
Henderson picked up this quote from Perry adviser Ray Sullivan about the whole “brother” thing:
“He is a friendly fellow. He uses that kind of language,” Sullivan said. “And he views all those folks on stage as colleagues, as fellow Republicans, and he speaks accordingly.”
So — is this a big deal? A deal at all? Henderson reports the answer is, “it’s complicated.” For now, let’s go to the videotape: