November 9th, 2011
10:22 PM ET
2 years ago

Will 'Oops' be Perry's campaign epitaph?

(CNN) - A visibly flustered Rick Perry was reduced to "Oops" after a painful 53 seconds of trying to remember the name of the third of three federal agencies he would cut at a Republican presidential debate in Rochester, Michigan, on Wednesday.

Answering a question about jobs creation, Perry attempted to name the three agencies he has proposed shutting. He named two, but could not come up with the third, even after appearing to consult notes.

Perry was facing Texas Rep. Ron Paul as he answered the question.

"I will tell you, it is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone," Perry said. "Commerce, Education, and the - what's the third one there? Let's see. OK. Commerce, Education, and the..."

"EPA?" Romney offered off camera.

"EPA, there you go," Perry said.

When pressed by moderator John Harwood if the Environmental Protection Agency was indeed the third agency he proposes shuttering, Perry admitted that it wasn't. He then attempted again to remember the details from his plan.

"The third agency of government I would - I would do away with Education, the Commerce, and, let's see. I can't. The third one, I can't. Sorry. Oops."

Several minutes later in the debate, Perry clarified that the agency he was trying to remember was the Department of Energy.

Saddled with a series of lackluster debate performances and down in the polls, pundits were quick to predict the stumble was one from which Perry wouldn't be able to recover.

On Twitter, reaction was swift.

"Perry collapses. Cannot remember a list of three federal government departments he wants to abolish past the first two. Seriously. And then he says "oops." He has all but disappeared inside his suit in this debate and is now basically done," conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan tweeted.

CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen wrote, “Was that the most embarrassing moment of the campaign –#RickPerry unable to remember the 3rd Cabinet dept he would eliminate?"

Dana Loesch, a conservative radio host and CNN contributor, asked, "How can Perry recover from that?"

Democratic strategist and CNN contributor Roland Martin exclaimed, "Damn, he actually forgot the third federal agency he would get rid of! That is THE MOST EMBARRASSING moment of any debate I've seen!"

Appearing in the spin room after the debate, the Texas governor tried to make light of the gaffe: "I'm sure glad I had my boots on because I sure stepped in it out there."

–CNN Political Reporter Peter Hamby contributed to this report.


Also see:


Perry's forget me-not-fundraising

Poll: Tight races between Obama and Romney in three swing states

Five things we learned from Wednesday's GOP debate

 

 


Filed under: 2012 • Debate • Rick Perry
soundoff (320 Responses)
  1. JJ

    So he really is yet another Dubya-style Texas moron, down to the every last detail, including having the IQ of a RATTLE. This GOP slate of candidates is PATHETIC.

    November 9, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  2. iTALIAN NONNO

    Before he declared his candidacy,some Texans had given us prior warning that Perry was a dunce,.. but i never imagined he would be this inept. Happy trails Hombre.

    November 9, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  3. Robrob

    Sigh... it's almost as if they aren't even trying.

    November 9, 2011 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  4. Dave in SC

    Texas toast...........

    November 9, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  5. Bob Costello

    Next time, ask a fence post for a better answer...dear God help us!

    November 9, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  6. A happy liberal

    That was painful to watch even for me! What a team of clowns!

    No one recognizes the impact the whole world has on the US economy

    No one recognizes that the banks are simply not lending

    No one recognizes that it was lack of oversight that got us here now they want less regulations

    No one recognizes that Obama hasn't been able to do much cause everything he's tried has been blocked by the republican Congress.

    No one recognizes that they want to lower taxes even though busineses are not hiring (not because they can't afford it) but simply because there is no DEMAND to justify hiring. They have the money in their archives and lowering their taxes only makes them richer and not help the economy in any way...

    It's a sad day when we see Finland, South Korea and many other countries heavily investing in top class education and cheering crowd of republican haters and ignorant selfish people applauding to the elmination of the Dept of Education and to eliminating Federal Student Loans...

    OBAMA 2012 – FOUR MORE YEARS!

    November 9, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  7. 3rd Tyrant

    Perry's a clone of Bush II. Not sharp, not bright, not suitable to be president of his own bathroom. Time for him to step aside and let the grown-ups talk.

    November 9, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Good grief, Mr. Perry! Is it nerves or what. If you can't handle these debates at home, how will you fare on the world stage?

    November 9, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  9. Jeff In Oregon

    Really? This is the best of the Republican party. You are a sad group. Disband and leave us alone.

    November 9, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  10. ziegfeldf

    Whatever. Perry became the darling of the Tea Partiers because he seemed to be a true believer, but he fell out of favor when they realized he betrayed one of the tenets of the cult, namely, by not danming illegal immigrants and their (citizen) off-spring to the seventh generation.

    Good riddance. The man's not fit to be president by any measure.

    November 9, 2011 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  11. Sam Barber

    Stick a fork in Governor Goodhair Graft, 'cause he is DONE.

    November 9, 2011 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  12. Bozzz

    not much more needs to be said about that one. The man is incompetent.

    November 9, 2011 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  13. Bill in Florida

    The GOP: the dumbing down of American politics.

    November 9, 2011 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  14. ziegfeldf

    Whatever. Perry became the darling of the Tea Partiers because he seemed to be a true believer, but he fell out of favor when they he betrayed one of the tenets of the cult, namely, by not condemning illegal immigrants and their (citizen) off-spring to the seventh generation.

    Good riddance. The man's not fit to be president by any measure.

    November 9, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  15. peckish

    Don't worry , I'm sure Limbaugh, Hannity and Coulter will pin it all on the "Democrat (sic) Machine" any minute now. . .

    November 9, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  16. John

    Lack of preparation speaks for itself. Too bad Perry sinks. He would have been a convenient opponent for Obama in the general election. The most credible Republican candidate is Romney. I can see him as an effective president, unless derailed by the tea party.

    November 9, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  17. Dave

    The only thing that could have made this better is if Perry would have had to resign as Governor of Texas before being able to run for President.

    November 9, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  18. grady

    "Stepped in it", is right.

    November 9, 2011 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  19. T

    To think....less than 3 months ago, this joke of a politician was supposed to be the next POTUS...only to be outdone by a Pizza guy who likes to get his touchy feely on. Sheesh. Is this the best the GOP can come up with??

    November 9, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  20. Tony

    Stick a fork in him...he's done!

    November 9, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  21. Quezzy

    Ok this so much i can understand as we've all been in similar situations, but Perry i don't think could afford this one. He has more than enough money to keep going til the end so i don't see him going anywhere soon.

    November 9, 2011 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  22. Phillco24

    It's definitely over for Perry! How embarrassing!

    November 9, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  23. flyingdj

    Finally, Perry shines!

    November 9, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  24. The Choobs

    He shoulda gone with "The EPA." It was a softball that was handed to him!

    November 9, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  25. Hojo

    It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven
    -Jesus

    November 9, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
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