PLYMOUTH, N.H. — While his father hunkered down in preparation for Tuesday night’s debate, 28-year-old Griffin Perry said his father will be “well-rested” and better prepared for the Republican face-off at Dartmouth College.
“I think he’s going to do very well in the debate tomorrow,” Griffin Perry told ABC News Monday evening before the Grafton County GOP Columbus Day Dinner in Plymouth, N.H. “He’s not here this evening because he’s resting up, you know. He was very focused on raising money and did a very good job at that. Now the focus will be the debates and when he gets focused he can do anything.”
Perry, who lost his frontrunner status in the polls after his shaky debate performance in Orlando and an unexpected loss in the Florida P5 straw poll over two weeks ago, took off the two days prior to the New Hampshire debate to rest and prepare for the showdown. Griffin said his father will focus on one message – “jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Griffin Perry, the oldest of Perry’s two children, recently left his job with Deutsche Bank to start an independent consulting firm so he can focus more time campaigning for his father’s presidential bid. Griffin will be on the trail in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida in the coming months and has already spoken at fundraisers on behalf of his father’s campaign.
“He’s a really good guy. I’m his 28-year-old son who decided to put everything aside to go try to help him become the president of the United States, and I did that because I think he’s got the vision. He’s not afraid to talk about issues that will face my generation and generations to come.”
Wearing a pair of his father’s hand-me-down Luchesse boots made of ostrich and cow, Griffin Perry served as a surrogate for his father at the Columbus Day Dinner in Plymouth Monday, which was also attended by former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and his wife Mary Kaye and Mitt Romney’s wife Ann.
But the bulk of Griffin’s speech in Plymouth Monday evening centered on promoting the Texas governor’s economic record along with expressing the goal of ousting the president from the White House.
“We’re all here for one reason. That’s to get Barack Obama out of the White House,” Griffin told the crowd to an eruption of applause.
During a tie auction to raise money for the Grafton County Republican Party, Griffin worked the crowd, gliding across the floor showing off the maroon, elephant-clad tie signed by his father, even joking to Huntsman he could purchase the tie and “wear it to the debate.”
In the opening week of Perry’s campaign in August, Griffin accompanied his father and mother to numerous events in Iowa and New Hampshire. At an event at Popovers on the Square in Portsmouth, N.H., Griffin exuded patience and understanding when dealing with hecklers who were bombarding Perry with questions about Social Security.
Mark Miner, a spokesman for Perry, shared that the members of the Perry family each radiated a certain “Perry charm,” which makes it easy for them to relate with voters.
Griffin, a graduate of Vanderbilt University but a Texas A&M fan, noted that aside from the hardship of not seeing the family together very often, his father, who normally campaigns six days a week, has experienced a hard time on the campaign trail missing his Texas A&M Aggies play football, though Perry recognizes there are more important issues to focus on.
“The one tough thing about this for dad is that he doesn’t get to watch any football,” Griffin said. “There’s a lot more important things to do than watch football. He can watch it again some other year.”
Griffin lives in Dallas with his wife, Meredith, an attorney, and their two black Labradors named Trout and Belle, who is the mother of Gov. Perry’s black Labrador, Rory.
“It’s all in the family,” Griffin said.