Remember Rick Perry's presidential campaign? Me neither. But at one time the Texas Governor was the GOP frontrunner. Then, through a combination of gaffe-laden debates and behind-the-scenes disorganization, his campaign imploded. James Carville went so far as to call it "the worst presidential campaign/candidate in American history." In an except from his new book, Texas Tribune reporter Jay Root, who spent months following the Perry campaign, gives an explanation for Perry's cringe-worthy debate performances and general campaign mismanagement: he was just very sleepy.
According to Root, Perry had a previously undiagnosed sleep disorder, which caused him to make mind-blowing statements in debates like this:
"I think Americans just don't know sometimes which Mitt Romney they're dealing with. Is it the Mitt Romney that was on the side of against the Second Amendment before he was for the Second Amendment? Was it before he was before the social programs from the standpoint of he was for standing up for Roe v. Wade before he was against Roe v. Wade - he was for Race to the Top - he's for Obamacare and now he's against it - I mean we'll wait until tomorrow and see which Mitt Romney we're really talking to tonight."
The morning before that debate Perry told his travel aide: "I didn't sleep a wink." Liliana Ros, a Florida state committeewoman, noted Perry's physical distress after meeting him during one of the debate's commerical breaks.
"He grabbed my hand and held on to it," Ros told reporters. "His hand was so cold, like ice. And he was sweating. I don't know what it was, but something was definitely wrong."
Several days later, sleep specialists diagnosed Perry with sleep apnea, which, according Root's excerpt, causes "loud snoring and temporary lapses in breathing that disrupt normal sleep."
Perry blamed the apnea on his recent back surgey, which disrupted his exercise routine. Once he recovered and adjusted to the apnea, a top campaign aide said he seemed more energetic. But it was too late.
"The narrative had already been set. He was becoming an afterthought."
[Image via AP]