MANCHESTER, N.H. – GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry says he hadn’t been drinking alcohol or taking medication when he delivered an animated speech last week in New Hampshire, and Republicans in the first-in-the-nation primary state got together Thursday to defend him.

A YouTube video of the address has gone viral online, and political observers have questioned whether Perry was under the influence of a substance.

“No. I was just giving a speech,” Perry told the San Francisco Chronicle in a story published Thursday. “I’ve probably given 1,000 speeches. There are some that have been probably boring, some that have been animated, some that have been in between.”

He called it “a pretty typical speech for me.”

Last Friday night, Perry was unusually chatty and playful at a benefit dinner for a New Hampshire local think tank, breaking into giggles at one point after receiving a bottle of maple syrup as a parting gift. Comedians and some political observers have seized on the appearance as strange at best. And highlight videos have gone viral.

Nearly a week later, the speech was still being talked about, prompting a handful of New Hampshire Republicans to hold a press conference blaming the media and other campaigns for stoking the buzz surrounding Perry’s speech.

New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien and former GOP congressional candidate Jennifer Horn told reporters that the hype had gone too far. Both attended Perry’s speech, although neither is formally connected to any presidential campaign.

“We the American people are engaged in the most important responsibility we have as citizens: choosing the next leader of the free world,” Horn told reporters. “And we are kind of sick and tired of the gotcha games of politicians and the political press.

“This sort of irresponsible, unsubstantiated storytelling hurts the democratic process.”

Horn lashed out at what she called “an 8-minute cut-and-paste, arts-and-crafts video project that somebody made on their desk of a 25-minute serious speech.”