Perry’s less-than-polished N.H. appearance

This clip made the rounds over the weekend, and with good reason. It shows excerpts from Rick Perry’s 25-minute speech in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Friday night, which make the Republican presidential hopeful look … just a little off.

Your mileage may vary, but I’d swear that at the 1:15 mark, Perry is doing a spot-on imitation of Heath Ledger’s Joker from “Dark Knight.” Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who thought that.

There was also this gem early on: “This is such a cool state. I mean, come on, ‘Live free or die’? You know, you gotta love that, right? I come from a state where, you know, they had this little place called the Alamo, and they declared “Victory or death.” You know, we’re kinda into those slogans, man. It’s like ‘Live free or die’! ‘Victory or death’! Bring it!”

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas told the Huffington Post after the speech, “It was different.”

What a polite way of saying Perry seemed like a bit of a loon. Thomas Lane added, “The speech is full of the sort of tics, facial contortions, mimes and muggings that one would expect from a comic performer.”

At a certain level, I suppose there’s something refreshing about a speech like this. Perry is struggling in the polls, his frontrunner status is long gone, and there’s probably a temptation for the governor to become more cautious and polished. Instead, someone probably told Perry to just relax and be himself.

The problem, it turns out, is that when Perry’s relaxed and being himself, he’s kind of a goofball. (Check out the presentation at 0:26 and 2:50, for example.)