Rick Perry: Back Pain 'Fatigued' Me in Debates
GOP candidate says he's 'physically and mentally' better now
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2011 2:45 PM CST
Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry stands at his podium as he prepares for the Republican debate, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
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(Newser) – Rick Perry says he's feeling great these days—but admits that back pain was bothering him and affected his early GOP debate performances. "I would suggest to you that I was pretty fatigued. No excuses," he tells the Des Moines Register. He touched on his recent spinal fusion surgery when asked whether he should have started campaigning in Iowa earlier to get his feet wet.

"I didn’t even make the decision to run until very late June, and I had surgery on my back in very late July." Now, he says, his "back is great. I’m back running again for the last six weeks." He attributes his improved performance of late to being "both physically and mentally just back in the game." That may not explain his Solyndra gaffe, his Sotomayor stumble, or reaction to his recent ad, but he assesses himself this way: "Look, if anybody is looking for the perfect candidate, I’m not it."