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Is Rick Perry's bad back hurting him in debates? Observers said he looked "in pain"

Like clockwork, it seems as if Rick Perry's energy level starts to sag in the second half of the two-hour Republican presidential debates. And it's costing him. Some wonder if Perry's back is bothering him. In June, he had an experimental procedure when he had his spine fused during back surgery (story here).

Regardless of the cause, Perry didn't seem well last night, said Liliana Ros, Miami-Dade County Republican Party State Committeewoman. Ros, who's neutral in the race, was in the debate hall last night and said she spoke briefly with Perry during a commercial break when the candidates would mingle with the crowd.

"He grabbed my hand and held on to it. His hand was so cold, like ice. And he was sweating," Ros said. "He didn't seem well, like he was in pain or he was sick or something. I don't know what it was, but something was definitely wrong."

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam also noticed Perry was sweaty and looked physically uneasy.

"He looked uncomfortable. He was shifting his weight from one leg to another," Putnam said. "I felt bad for the guy. It did look like he had a bad back, but I don't know."

Putnam said the Presidency 5 and Conservative Political Action Conference was a buzz with Perry's performance.

"That's all everyone's talking about," Putnam said.