Nearly two dozen people with signs saying "Ricky Go Home," and "Seniors Say No to Ricky" greeted Perry at a rally in Portsmouth, where he was asked whether he thought Social Security was unconstitutional and was urged to follow through on his comment about Texas seceding, The Washington Post reported.
"He's appealing to the Tea Party," declared Larry Drake, a retired federal worker and Democrat who said went to the rally to show his opposition to the governor. "It's like [former President] George W. Bush on steroids."
Responding to a child asking whether he believes in evolution, Perry said it was a theory "that's out there."
"It's got some gaps in it," Perry said. "In Texas, we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools because I figure you're smart enough to figure out which one is right."
Perry ignored a woman who yelled, "Did you say Social Security is unconstitutional?" as he walked along a sidewalk and a man who hollered, "Please secede," referring to comments Perry has made about Texas leaving the United States because of what he considered the federal government's overreach.
"I've really enjoyed, over the last few days, getting to meet the people of New Hampshire," Perry said.
Perry has already established himself as a top-tier GOP presidential candidate, along with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist said in a report from The Hill.
"I think if he doesn't trip on the way in, it's him, Romney and Bachmann," Norquist said.
Romney, Bachmann and Perry may be the top three now but Norquist said he thinks the race could be a match between Perry and Romney.
"There's a possibility that Bachmann's the flavor of the month," Norquist said. "I would be less surprised to see her drop in the polls over the next few weeks [or] months than I would Perry or Romney."
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