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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Perry's YouTube Moment

Viral video can sometimes hurt political candidates. The first major case was the "macaca incident" in 2006, when Virginia Senator George Allen appeared to use a disparaging term for an opposition tracker, who promptly posted the remarks on YouTube. In recent days, Rick Perry endured a YouTube moment of his own as Brittany Nunn writes at The Amarillo Globe-News.
Herman Cain’s pain is Rick Perry’s gain. After the Texas governor’s speech in New Hampshire set YouTube buzzing, Cain’s efforts to deflect allegations of sexual harassment shifted the spotlight in a suddenly wild Republican presidential race.

“I think the best approach would be to thank Mr. Cain for the sexual harassment,” joked David Rausch, a political science professor at West Texas A&M University.

But observers still are struggling to explain Perry’s behavior during his speech Friday. Video footage of Perry acting unusually animated while addressing a conservative group went viral on YouTube over the weekend. Viewers of the 25-minute speech said Perry looked disoriented and a little unsteady as he waved his hands and arms, grinned widely and laughed at his own jokes.

Rausch said he thinks Perry simply could have been trying to show his enthusiasm and got carried away. Discussion on the Internet included speculation that Perry was under the influence of alcohol or medication/

“Sex is easy for the media to understand - everyone understands it,” Rausch said. “Whereas religious enthusiasm is a little harder to understand. It looks like there was some sleep deprivation,” Rausch speculated.