The Chronicle’s Gary Scharrer has the story: AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry’s heavy use of painkillers to help relieve severe back pain may have kept the governor from the top of his game last fall during an aborted presidential run, according an e-book being released Tuesday. Perry campaign adviser Ray Sullivan swiftly denounced the book Monday as “irresponsible, unsourced and unfounded ‘reporting.’ ” Inside the Circus, a book about the Republican presidential race by veteran journalists Mike Allen, of Politico, and Evan Thomas, of Newsweek, describes a bizarre men’s room scene where a campaign manager for a rival overhead Perry belting out, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.” As the campaign manager left the men’s room, he still could hear Perry merrily singing away: “I-I-I’ve been working on the ra-i-i-l road, all-ll the live-long day …” according to “The Daily Caller,” a Washington-based political website, which received an advance copy of the book. “It became an open secret that he was using painkillers in sufficient dosages to keep him standing through the two-hour debates,” The Daily Caller reported from book excerpts. As the campaign manager left the men’s room, he still could hear Perry merrily singing away: “I-I-I’ve been working on the ra-i-i-l road, all-ll the live-long day …” according to The Daily Caller, a Washington-based political website, which received an advance copy of the book. “It became an open secret that he was using painkillers in sufficient dosages to keep him standing through the two-hour debates,” The Daily Caller reported from book excerpts. * * * * I believe this story 100%. I wrote at the time, watching Perry debate, that he was clearly experiencing discomfort, that he kept twisting his torso, leaning on the podium, trying to find a comfortable position. As did several other journalists, I pointed out that he was wearing comfortable shoes, not boots. I wrote that I had had back surgery myself, and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. It’s hard for your back muscles to hold you up. The question that must be asked, and must be answered, is what did the people in the Perry campaign know about Perry’s use of painkillers, and when did they know it? Perry has always run a secretive operation, but to run the risk of addiction as a presidential candidate, not to mention the risk of having it be discovered, is, even by Perry standards, amazingly reckless. The revelations in the book raise a the issue of whether he should continue to serve as governor, much less contemplate another presidential race. Perry should be called upon to release his medical records immediately. If these allegations stick, I don’t see how he can be a viable candidate for any office. ADDENDUM: This is the statement Ray Sullivan, Perry’s spokesperson, gave to the Morning News: “Gov. Rick Perry‘s office has released a statement from Ray Sullivan, campaign adviser and former campaign communications director: ‘POLITICO’s e-book is a low in irresponsible, unsourced and unfounded “reporting,” with anonymous untruths about Gov. Perry’s debate performances. Gov. Perry’s recovery from summer surgery was successful, leaving him more than able [to] handle the grueling schedule that accompanies modern presidential campaigns. 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. 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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