Office cubicles all across the country were surely filled with the sound yesterday of people playing and replaying the already infamous clip of the governor addressing the Cornerstone Action group in New Hampshire last Friday night. Time’s Mark Halperin nonchalantly described it as “super-loose and unplugged…a side of him few of you have seen.” And the Huffington Post called his performance, “unusually expressive.” 

But soon enough Perry’s jokes about gold, enthusiastic yells about the Alamo, and the way he clutched a bottle of maple syrup syrup to his chest, prompted sterner talk. It’s one thing when Gawker asks, “Just how drunk Is Rick Perry in this video?”, but Peggy Fikac and Richard Dunham, of the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle, wondered the same thing. As did Aman Bathja of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, whose round-up blog post carried the headline “Animated, giddy Perry draws ‘drunk’ descriptions.”

Perry’s press secretary, Mark Miner, said the governor was simply “being passionate,” though Dunham and Fikac noted that Miner did not respond to questions about whether the governor had taken medication for his bad back or had drunk alcohol before the event.

And by the time Bathja’s story got reprinted on a bunch of other newspaper websites, the headline hinted at a new meme: “Is Perry’s viral video a Howard Dean ‘scream’ moment?,” the Miami Herald asked (based on Bathja’s summary of an early take by Business Insider).

Not at all, say Perry loyalists. “That’s a good rendition of Gov. Perry,” Austinite Linda Yarbrough told KXAN. “Approachable and warm.” And the Rick Perry Report scoffs at various and sundry bloggers and yes, “t-sips,” saying the speech was Perry the Aggie on spectacular display.  

He was a Yell Leader at Texas A&M. For the couch potato bloggers, snarling down their noses at me and Rick Perry, let me explain. A Yell Leader at A&M requires a variety of voices to get a point across. They can be serious, angry, funny, engage in hyperbole, or anything else to get the crowd at Kyle Field to yell so loud that the opposing team cannot hear the next play that’s called.

And as Slate notes, Perry also released a new campaign ad today, one that indirectly rebuts the whole affair

If you’re looking for a slick politician or a guy with great Teleprompter skills, we already have that and he’s destroying our economy,” Perry says in the ad. “I’m a doer, not a talker.”

And just in case you haven’t had a chance to form your own opinion yet, here’s the original video: