Move over baby kissing. Looks like there's a new form of retail politics this election season: beard tugging.
Baby kissing is one of the rituals candidates engage in during campaigns, but for Rick Perry, schmoozing with children alone doesn't cut it. At two campaign stops in Iowa during day three of his statewide bus tour, the Texas governor demonstrated a new practice in retail politics - beard tugging.
At Sisters Mainstreet Café in Spencer this morning, Perry made the rounds glad-handing with the coffee shop patrons and stopped when he set his eyes on one voter with a long white beard.
"We got you a lot going on there," Perry said as he tugged at the man's beard. "You've got a good full one."
Shortly after, at his second event at La Chiesa in Spencer, Perry approached another voter who bore a full white beard.
"I like your beard," Perry said as he greeted one voter and expressed a touch of jealousy that he can't grow one of his own. "I'd grow one but I've got too many - I'd look like an old mangy dog."
"This is kind of ZZ Top-ish," the man said about his own beard as Perry laughed and agreed. "They're from Texas."
At the mention of ZZ Top, Perry shared a personal moment he had with the band.
"One of my great fun things I got to do in life is play drums with ZZ Top one evening," he said.
But don't expect Perry to forgo baby kissing for beard tugging. After a townhall in Mason City, Perry asked 7-year-old Colby Naylon and 8-year-old Asa Greco to take a picture with him, but instead, the two boys stood in front of Perry and asked him to sign the blue T-shirts they were wearing.
During a two-day stop in New Hampshire last month, Perry expressed his willingness to engage in the age old campaign tradition of baby kissing, saying on a local radio station, "I'm in Manchester, New Hampshire, right now, and I'm looking for some babies to kiss."