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Perry to child on creationism vs. evolution: 'You're smart enough to figure out which is right'

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- Rick Perry defended teaching creationism in Texas schools when confronted by a New Hampshire voter who told her son to ask Perry "why he doesn't believe in science."

"Evolution is a theory that's out there," Perry says crouching down and staring into the eyes of an elementary-school-age child, who stands with his mother's hands on his shoulders.

"It's got some gaps in it," Perry continues, "but in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution..."

"Ask him why he doesn't believe in science," the mother interjects off camera.

Putting both hands on the outside of the boy's shoulders, Perry, not acknowledging the mother, says, "...because I figured you're smart enough to figure out which one is right."

On global warming to a local science teacher, he said, "We teach the straight-out facts in Texas in our schools. You'll have to pick those up in our classbooks."

Perry was also greeted by dozens of protesters and posters against his positions on Medicare, climate change and Social Security.

Some were yelling, "Stop busting unions, Perry!" And "hands off our Medicare!"

He avoided questions from both voters and media on his exact position on climate change, referring voters to his website. The protesters were mostly liberals, including Democratic State Sen. Burt Cohen.

*** UPDATE *** Jon Huntsman's the first out of the gate with a swipe at Perry. He wrote in a Tweet: @JonHuntsman "To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy."