EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire Elections

November 30, 2011

NH voters think Perry can rise above mistakes

DERRY — Texas Gov. Rick Perry may be dropping in the polls, but some New Hampshire voters are confident he'll still be a viable candidate in the presidential primary Jan. 10.

The three-term governor spoke to a crowd of about 60 people last night at the Brookstone Event Center. Perry told of how he would help create jobs, decentralize the federal government and secure the nation's borders if elected.

He was accompanied by Joe Arpaio, a sheriff from Arizona who formerly worked in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Concord office.

Arpaio, known for his tough stance on illegal immigration, joined Perry on the campaign trail yesterday. Perry voiced his intent last night to prevent illegal immigrants, drugs and weapons from entering the U.S. The future of the next generation depends upon it, he said.

"I have been a law-and-order governor and I will be a law-and-order president," he said. " I will secure that border."

But as Perry pulled up a stool and fielded questions from the audience, reports were circulating that his campaign staff was undergoing a shakeup. He denied those reports.

Perry's speech in Derry also came on the heels of a blunder made earlier in the day while speaking to students at Saint Anselm College in Manchester.

He asked students who will be at least 21 to vote for him but said younger students could still work hard on his behalf. Perry either forgot or didn't realize the nation's voting age is 18, prompting whispering in the crowd.

Perry's mistakes and lackluster performances in debates have come under fire in recent weeks. At the same time, his poll numbers have dropped.

Since announcing his candidacy this summer, Perry has led at times in some national polls.

When Perry spoke at the Adams Memorial Opera House in Derry on Sept. 30, he and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney were at the top of the pack.

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