Washington (CNN) - Gov. Rick Perry of Texas made light at a major gathering of conservatives on Saturday of his sometimes rocky 2012 run for the White House.
"I've learned a little bit about humility particularly on national television," he quipped to laughter at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's annual conference, which is one of the largest gatherings of social conservatives.
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A few lines later in his faith-themed speech, Perry noted a critique of "St. Peter, whose mouth sometimes ran faster than his brain. Let me tell you, I can relate to Peter."
In a high-profile gaffe, Perry could not remember at a GOP primary debate the third of three federal agencies he planned to eliminate if elected. He later described it as a brain freeze and said in a CNN interview, "I bet there are a lot of Americans out there that would like to forget some agencies of government, too."
He made one on Saturday morning at this lower-profile event, confusing the country where four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador, were killed last September 11.
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"Our administration won't make one phone call to save our men and women in embassies in Lebanon," he said, apparently referring to the attack in Benghazi, Libya, "but they'll monitor phone calls of 121 million Americans with one single judicial order. That bothers me."
But Perry, who has said he will announce this summer whether he will run for the governor again next year, with a decision on making a 2016 White House bid coming a bit later this year, told the half-full ballroom at a Washington hotel that nobody in politics is without flaws.
"The fact is God hadn't called the perfect to go into the arena of public service. He's called people just like you and just like me, nothing less than the example of our savior," he said.
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He was the first speaker at the final day of the conference and spoke to a half-empty ball room. Nearly the full roster of prospective 2016 presidential candidates accepted invitations to speak at the conference.
Perry criticized the federal government's collection of internet and phone records, spoke out against the national debt and made a veiled criticism of the Obama administration's gun control efforts.
"I fear the trampling of the Second Amendment and the discarding of the Tenth Amendment. Every word in the Bill of Rights guarantees our freedom and not a single vowel of that should be ignored," he said.
To the point of freedom, Perry noted that he had this week signed into law religious freedom legislation which some in Texas called the "Merry Christmas bill."
"I have no idea why this is even required in America today," he said. "Expressions of faith I happen to think are very positive in the American society that we live in today."
Perry was followed on stage by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. Former governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will close the conference Saturday afternoon.
– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
No one is looking for perfect. However we do expect politions to be able to look at complex issues from more than just one side, ability to problem solve and work well with others.
He learned one thing for certain......never jump into a race, you aren't prepared for.
I think the majority of politicians today are just entertainers. They do not know or care about their duties or responsibilities as long as it means more camera time for them. Sarah Palin is the figure head of this category of sorry excuses for politicians
It is not against the law to say "Merry Christmas" in the federal workplace. This is a myth created by Newt Gingrich during the last election and spread by the right-wing media. Guidelines do exist to prevent the workplace from being transformed into a Christian shrine during the Christmas Season. Still, the Federal Government DOES take a long holiday to accomodate Christmas. Every office has decorations and people are constantly saying "Merry Christmas". Republicans love to fix problems that don't exist – just for political theater. I will now train myself to say "Happy Holidays" because Christians have become abusive and self-righteous in their Evangelical efforts.
idiots finally have a king
Perry brags about our job growth here in Texas. In truth most of the job are due to virtually unrestricted fracking for oil & gas and the BRAC's reallignment of military bases (and increase in Federal jobs). The land, water, air, and highways are getting trashed by the fracking but Texans look the other way. Perry wants the feds to bail him out when disaster strikes (like the fire in Bastrop, the hurricanes, and the explosion in West) but he rants for "smaller government". Will the feds bail Texas out when in about ten years the fracking wells dry up?
If they ever bring back the Queen for a Day Show , Perry would make a great host !
Where did he get the name " Captain Obvious " ?
Rick, we texans don't want perfection. A touch of integrity would be welcome, though. Give that a try.
Oops man should know about not being perfect or smart or have what it takes besides a rifle and a picture that doesn't include the part under your belt to show us you are a man!
Do you still own that ranch with the racist name? Just wondering,
Perry's absolutely right!
For three reasons.
They promise more than they can give.
It's easy for them to lose sight of their ideals.
Perry out canvassing America looking for corporations to replce the ones blown up like this past fertilizer plant that went sky high and after railing against federal governments intrusion into states affairs he wants FEMAs help,right hypocric!!That explosion was the corporations fault and their insurance companys liability should pay for it as well not the taxpayers of Texas or Americas as well..Perry get out and get something done to help your state secede from America as well because your states just a pimple on Americas butt and we don't need anymore of them like yours bothering us right now bud!!
NO politicians are not perfect, but by gosh Rick is sure working on being the perfect idiot. Don't regulate business. Don't support any program that actually helps people. Don't want big government agencies like FEMA but do want DHS. And finally, cry like a baby for federal Aid for after an industrial disaster. Emphasis on "Industrial Disaster". A disaster caused by the lack of regulation, inspection and oversight. Sounded like a good idea to locate an industrial plant in a residential area, then don't regulate the plant and then don't inspect the plant. So when your remarkably insightful pro business policy of anything goes, backfires, well it's the fault of the Obama Administration. Really? Does anyone think this member of the GOP Clown Car can actually have anything meaningful to say on any subject? What a GOP joke.
Perry is right- no politician is perfect, and voters are idiots if they think they are.
However, one has to note the extreme lengths to which Republicans are going with that less-than-perfect pitch. They have no morals, they don't care about real-live people or their problems, they have no coherent policies (i.e. "pro-life", yet anti health care, or pro-capital punishment), they are really only about the rich, and they are itchin' for more wars.
They are the STUPID party!