Status: Real Photos, False Captions
The political dirty tricks season is upon us again, and so we get the image above, which has recently been circulating around conservative blogs. (Thanks to Gayl for forwarding it to me.) Its intent is obvious: to show that Rick Perry was serious and heroic as a young man, whereas Barack Obama was a bit of a punk.
The pictures themselves are real. The picture of Obama was taken in 1980
by Lisa Jack when both were freshmen at Occidental College in L.A. The picture of Rick Perry is undated, but must have been taken sometime between 1972 and 1977, when Perry served in the Air Force.
Therefore, the captions of the images are incorrect. Obama would have been 19 at the time the photo was taken, whereas Perry would have been between the ages of 22 and 27. So the comparison isn't quite fair. By the time he was in his early 20s, Obama was working as a community organizer in Chicago.
Furthermore, Perry himself was reportedly a bit of a punk while in college. According to a recent article in The Texas Tribune
On one occasion, Perry put live chickens in the closet of an upperclassman and left them there during Christmas break. “You can just imagine the smell,” Sharp said. “Needless to say, he didn’t mess with Perry again.”
Another more elaborate prank took Perry months to execute. It involved M-80 firecrackers and an acquired knowledge of the plumbing in A&M buildings.
Perry learned that he could drop something down the second floor toilet and get it to come out the first floor toilet. Then he learned M-80s had waterproof detonators — a perfect combination. His accomplice, Sharp, would give the high sign out the window when a potential target wandered into a stall. Perry, from the floor above, would flush the lit firework down.
A fairer comparison might have been to contrast Obama looking laidback in his straw hat and cigarette dangling out of his mouth with Perry exploding a toilet.