Rick Perry Popped Painkillers to Get Through Debates, Book Reports

Aides to the Texas governor blast claims that his back pains were so severe he needed medication to stand.

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Reuters

Texas Gov. Rick Perry had to rely on painkillers to stand up during the many GOP presidential debates, according to an excerpt from an upcoming ebook on the 2012 presidential race obtained by multiple media outlets.

Politico's e-book, Inside the Circus, reveals that Perry had such severe back pain due to surgery during the summer of 2011 that he regularly took painkillers before the debates.

The Perry campaign denied the report, saying in an email that the ebook is "irresponsible, unsourced and unfounded 'reporting,' with anonymous untruths," and that Perry was "more than able" to handle the campaign's grueling schedule.

"The governor has stated that July back surgery prevented his regular exercise routine and Perry officials have also repeatedly and truthfully denied that pain medicine was a factor in the campaign," wrote Ray Sullivan, Perry's campaign adviser and former campaign communications director. "Politico's claims are false, unsubstantiated and ultimately harmful to the political and electoral process, and [to the] trust in the media that covers the process."

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Lara Seligman is a fellow with National Journal Daily.

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