COLUMBIA, S.C. - With Sumter Street in downtown Columbia lined with bright-eyed children waving American flags and veterans partaking in the festivities, presidential hopefuls Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann marched in the city’s Veterans Day parade.
Wearing a flight jacket with a badge that said “Rick Perry, Governor Texas,” Perry worked the crowd as he walked along the parade route, stopping to shake hands and pose for pictures with South Carolinians. Perry even offered some words of advice to a young boy, who commented that it was funny when the Texas governor slipped up at the debate.
“You’re all good. Y’all study a little bit. Don’t ever forget anything,” Perry said as he waved goodbye to the group.
At times, Perry, clad in brown orthopedic shoes instead of his black cowboy boots, ran through the parade course, waving as he passed the crowds, in an attempt to catch up with the main parade.
Several voters yelled words of encouragement to the Texas governor, telling him to “Hang in there, Rick,” but one woman shouted at him to name the three federal departments he tried unsuccessfully to recall at Wednesday night’s debate.
“Come on. You can do it. Three,” the woman yelled after asking him the question.
Perry engaged in some damage control Thursday to lessen the blow of his debate flub, appearing on eight national television programs, and he will continue the media tour Friday as he speaks with local press.
Bachmann, who wore an American flag scarf around her neck, walked along the parade route with Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., as they wished parade goers, “Happy Veterans Day.”
Prior to the start of the parade, two voters approached Bachmann and apologized for the behavior of protestors at her event in Mount Pleasant, S.C., Thursday. Bachmann accepted their apology and noted the protestors were not reflective of the entire South Carolina population, but their behavior was “ignorant and disrespectful.”
“It’s just a shame that there are so many young people who have been brainwashed and who are ignorant of all that was done for them,” Bachmann said of the protestors who interrupted her event Thursday. “As soon as they would know, if they understood the heavy price that was paid for that First Amendment right, they’d be much more respectful.”
Bachmann and Perry will join the other Republican presidential candidates at a debate in at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., Saturday sponsored by CBS and the National Journal.