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SIMI VALLEY, CA – Ron Paul defeated Rick Perry in the debate last night,  then beat him up backstage.

Texas Governor Rick Perry  took the stage last night for his first debate at the Reagan Centennial GOP presidential primary debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

He exchanged jabs with all the Republican candidates but his most heated battles were with Ron Paul, (R-TX).  And by all accounts, Ron Paul wiped the stage with Perry and that did not make the Texas Governor happy.

The conservative Perry, who in just a few weeks as an official candidate has soared to front-runner status in the race for his party’s 2012 presidential nomination, then got into a shoving match with Ron Paul back stage.

Surprisingly, Paul, who is much smaller than Perry – and thinner – shoved Perry back.  According to insiders, Perry got into his Texas Fighting Stance.  Paul seized the opportunity and belted Perry in the face.

“It was an amazing punch.  Ron hit him square in the jaw,” said a Ron Paul aide.

The two men then got into a brawl that any Texas saloon would be proud of.  Both men were smashing chairs against each other.  In the end, however, Paul gave Perry a whooping.

“Paul was like a wild bull,” said a source that was back stage.  “He kept landing punch after punch on Perry.”

Paul left Perry whimpering on the floor.  He defeated the governor on stage and off.

This morning, Perry was getting ready to “take it to Ron Paul”:

But, Ron Paul was not impressed.

The event last night was the first in a series of debates in the next six weeks that will  define a Republican race that increasingly looks like a contest between Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

But Ron Paul has something to say about that.  “They gotta go through me first.”

The only thing Rick Perry and Ron Paul agreed last night – was when Brian Williams suggested that Barack Obama might win Texas in the election next year.   That statement gave both men a good laugh:

Rick Perry’s debate debut, overall, was less than stellar. He threw elbows at Republicans from Ron Paul and Karl Rove on up, stuttered on a number of questions and called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme.”

But Ron Paul was brilliant.  To everyone in the room – and according to polls taken immediately afterward – Ron Paul won, hands down.

And backstage – Ron Paul showed Rick Perry who really is the king of the Lone Star State.