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A thousand miles from Manchester, Perry opts for local fare

LEESVILLE, S.C. -- The rest of the political world's eyes are trained tonight on New Hampshire's exit polls, but Rick Perry has one other pressing matter on his mind.

"I'm fixing to get some gizzards!" he declared to a group of giggling elderly women chowing down at Shealy's Bar-B-Que on Tuesday night.

The Texas governor spent the Granite State primary night just shy of 1,000 miles away from the journalistic bonanza in Manchester, instead weaving his way between the long tables of a  the cafeteria-style diner here, insisting on shaking the hands of every patron.

"You study!" he instructed a young girl.

"How's the catfish?" he inquired of another diner.

Perry, who dropped his efforts in New Hampshire after plummeting to the bottom of the polls in the state, hopes to revive his campaign in South Carolina with a swing heavy on his famed retail-politicking skills and a populist pitch aimed squarely at frontrunner Mitt Romney.

"Venture capitalism's a good thing. Comes in, gives that gap funding to help these companies get up and get started creating jobs and work," he told South Carolinians at a town hall here. "But Mitt Romney and Bain Capital were involved in what I call vulture capitalism."

The governor will conduct several media interviews tonight, but it's fair to say that following the New Hampshire results won't be the highlight of his evening.

It will be those gizzards. He got them to go.