Today, at the Iowa state fair, Ben Smith asked Rick Perry if he was packing heat:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is a leading advocate of gun rights who likes to boast of having dispatched a coyote on a recent jog, so I asked him during today's walking press conference at the Iowa State Fair whether he was armed.

"I never comment on whether I'm carrying a handgun or not," he said. "That's why it's called concealed."

Was he carrying a gun, or was he not? It doesn't really matter. The lesson: Perry's quick on his feet.

Here's Smith's assessment (offered in a separate post) of the newest candidate in the race:'s clear [Perry's] the most talented, and experienced, retail politician of the race.

He's also very loose with reporters and willing to talk about policy views that are well to the right even of the GOP center, and that would be his central general election challenge.

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