Columbia, South Carolina (CNN) - Ditching a blazer for a bomber jacket, suit pants for Wrangler jeans, Texas Gov. Rick Perry exuded confidence working a Veterans Day parade in Columbia Friday.
The presidential candidate, who's been in damage control mode ever since he drew a blank and uttered "oops" at the Wednesday debate, is showing no sign of succumbing to the campaign obituary storyline.
Perry and two other presidential candidates spent the federal holiday in the first Southern primary state, which boasts a significant veteran and active military population. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann trailed Perry in the same parade, walking with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney met with veterans in the upstate.
His Air Force unit badge on his green jacket sleeve, the former C-150 cargo pilot was in his element walking down Sumter Street behind Fort Jackson troops, saluting veterans and thanking them for their service.
Later in the day, Perry was peppered with questions about foreign policy, teeing up Saturday's debate on the same topic, during an interview with The State newspaper.
Perry is trying to put the debate gaffe behind him. "It is what it is. It's behind us," he told the newspaper. "Other than forgetting the name of a federal agency, I thought our debate preparation and performance was fine."
State Reporter Gina Smith asked the two-term governor if he's concerned about sinking in the polls in South Carolina.
"I did that with my wife, too. It just took a while for her to kind of come back around, but at the end of the day I was successful," he said with a smile and a wink.
–Follow Shawna Shepherd on Twitter: @ShepherdCNN