As Mr. Perry, wearing a white shirt and no jacket, shook hands with a mix of well-wishers and naysayers on the cafe’s patio, Kristin Bunce, 43, helped ease her 9-year-old son, Sam Beane, into Mr. Perry’s path.
Sam, wide-eyed and looking up at the governor, asked Mr. Perry a question. The governor crouched down so he was just inches from Sam’s face, and in a soft, calm voice began to answer.
“How old do I think the earth is?” Mr. Perry said. “You know what? I don’t have any idea. I know it’s pretty old, so it goes back a long, long way. I’m not sure anybody actually knows completely and absolutely how long, how old the earth is.”
“And here your mom was asking about evolution, and you know, it’s a theory that’s out there and it’s got some gas in it,” Mr. Perry continued. “In Texas, we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools.”
He added: “I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right. Thank you.”
“I asked him how old he thought the earth was,” said Sam, a rising fourth grader, recounting the exchange. “He said he didn’t know.”
“…Evolution, I think, is correct,” Sam said, looking up at his mother.
Of course a nine-year-old is smarter than the Republican presidential frontrunner.