According to New York Magazine’s Dan Amira, who interviewed a waitress at the restaurant, Perry called on the mannequin as a joke.

The incident followed another gaffe by Perry on the radio, when he named a different Cabinet-level agency that he would eliminate as president than he had in the past.

Perry’s prolonged lapse in a debate last year when he struggled to remember the third agency he would cut has haunted his campaign. He has never quite recovered from his reputation of verbal missteps in the presidential debates, and his poll numbers have remained in the single digits despite intensive campaign efforts in South Carolina.

The next primary vote takes place Jan. 21 in the Palmetto State.

Perry did get some good news on Friday: His poll numbers jumped to 9 percent in an American Research Group poll and, according to The Associated Press, the town-hall event near Hilton Head, S.C., was packed.

— This post was updated with video at 5:00 p.m.