During Tuesday’s debate frenzy, the campaign of Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas — one of the front-runners for the 2012 presidential election’s republican ticket — decided to do a little frat hopping to promote the governor. While he didn’t complete a circuit during his stay at Dartmouth, Perry’s 28-year-old son Griffin did make a pit stop at Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity on Tuesday afternoon at a casual mixer to discuss politics and his father’s campaign.
“It’s always nice to see girls at a frat house during the day,” Griffin quipped during his introduction.
The Texan governor’s son delivered a brief presentation very catered to his college audience, praising the students in attendance for their involvement in the political process.
“That means you’re thinking about your future,” he said.
Regarding his father’s campaign platform, Griffin Perry said his father is not a believer in government-created jobs, but that entrepreneurs can help create jobs as a solution to the national issue of unemployment. He added, however, he could not “go into the full detail today.”
In response to a student’s question about the specific issues with which Perry’s competition must contend during the debate, Griffin Perry suggested that former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., appeals to a limited scope of Republicans and must prove himself during Tuesday’s debate.
“Can Mitt Romney reach out to more voters?” Griffin Perry asked.
He also commented on the topic of Tuesday’s debate, which solely focused on economic issues.
“It might be a little boring unless you love economics,” Perry cautioned three members of Alpha Xi Delta sorority. One assured him that she was an economics major, however, and she was excited for the debate.
On several occasion, Griffin — who said his father had been practicing a great deal for Tuesday’s debate — made reference to the governor’s record as his “strongest attribute” in comparison to the other candidates.
Another student asked Griffin to comment on the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York, about which Griffin admitted he did not know a lot of details.
“I don’t necessarily know what their point is,” he said. “You’ve got to know what you stand for.”
On the topic of the debate itself, Griffin said he would be looking forward to seeing all eight candidates speak in a formal setting.
“Everybody’s going to be more polished,” Griffin Perry said. “Not just Dad, but the other candidates.”
The younger Perry predicted — pretty accurately — that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., former Gov. Jon Huntsman, R-Utah, and former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn., wouldn’t be speaking much at the debate, which he said would center more on his father and Romney. As any loyal son might, Griffin concluded with some well wishes for his father.
“I hope Dad does very well,” Griffin said.
Tuck professor Gregory Slayton ’81 — who said he has known Rick Perry for a “long time” — was instrumental in organizing Perry’s two Greek events, Slayton said in an interview with Dartbeat.
Perry’s decision to reach out to students during his stay at Dartmouth was unmatched by any of the other candidates, Slayton said, who added that Romney had planned an event at one point that had been cancelled.
At 10 p.m. after the debate, the Texas governor himself made an appearance along with his campaign staff and family at Beta Alpha Omega fraternity for a larger gathering, Slayton said.
The Griffin Perry event at SAE was co-hosted by AZD. The post-debate event at Beta was co-hosted by Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and SAE.