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
Sure, you can say "Merry Christmas" but try saying "Feliz Navidad" in Texas.
And he just vetoed a bill which prohibits texting while driving. Politicians aren't perfect? Ya think so??
"Our administration won't make one phone call to save our men and women in embassies in Lebanon..."
Moron. He can't even spread the right-wing talking points correctly.
When it becomes illegal to say Merry Christmas on non-governmental time/property, etc. then it has ceased to be separation of church and state and repression of religion. The truth is we are becoming more and more a governmental state where everything we do is sanctioned by the state. Or "We the ruled of the Subjugated States of America, one government under law where each man does what the government tells them to."
Politicians aren't perfect?
How dare they use perfect and politician in the same sentence?
No more, "Happy Holidays"! How about that.
Politicians aren't perfect, but they're working on it. In fact, they've almost perfected corruption! :)
Well we all know that Perry is anything but perfect.
Perry is typical of the GOP/TEA passing unneeded "statement" laws, like OK's no using aborted fetuses as food additive law, or moaning about the big, bad govt. I saw he was quick enough calling on the Govt. to rebuild the city of West, Texas. Considering that West's congressman voted against aid to hurricane Sandy victims, I say the heck w/them. Why should taxpayers pay to fix a Texas, manmade problem. If Gov. TEA hadn't been poaching jobs from other states w/no regulations claims I might feel different. In smart states, we have regulations forbidding building schools, hospitals, nursing homes, or anything else near factories using explosive materials. In smart states we also take legal action against business owners who lie about how much explosive material they store on site. This was an easily avoided Texas made tragedy, and the owners of the plant, and theTexas lawmakers should clean-up their own spilled milk.
Politics. Everybody on their side is evil. Everybody on our side is a saint. Doesn't matter what side you are on.
And it's ok if politicians aren't perfect, unless it's a Democratic DA, with a division investigating the governors dealings.
My thoughts exactly, PJ.
Oh, and...Merry Christmas!
I agree that nobody is perfect, but that doesn't cover the outright stupidity of Perry and his ilk.
Thank goodness for the Merry Christmas bill! Yet another problem that never existed solved by the Perry brain trust. How do they do it? And meanwhile, Perry is moving forward on providing a dump in Texas disapproved by Texas State engineers to receive radioative waste from all over the United States at the behest of his largest campaign contributor. Yahooooooooooo! By the way, Texans should not talk about secession and get everyone's hopes up for nothing.
that is why we need transparancy.
Everything is bigger in Texas, including DUH...
Rick Perry is an idiot. We have been trying got years to get rid of him and are hoping to do just that in this next election. The days of the Republican Reign of Terror in Texas are ending and we are about to turn Texas Blue again...
Anyone who says "I've learned a little bit about humility ..." obviously hasn't.
yes Perry, you should know that politicians aren't perfect.
Now he can't tell the difference between Lebanon and Libya? Would anyone really want this guy making decisions in the white house?
Except for Perry. He kisses the mirror every time he passes it.
Jesus would have know the difference between Libya and Lebanon. Something this man cant tell. And he wants to be our President. He thinks we are all consuming meth from on e ot he TEXAS based labs,
I fear someone who mistakes countries. As Commander-in-Chief, he might order an attack on England when he meant to say Ethiopia. I fear someone who talks about "trampling of the Second Amendment" when no one has proposed anything like that. I fear the irresponsibility of a governor talking about seceding from the country. I fear the someone whose administration has allowed education and text books to present false and misleading views of history and science.
Guv'nah Goodhair certainly has 'His' priorities straight (according to 'His' agenda)! Because it's Soooo much more important to "Save Christmas" than to let women have equal pay or affordable healthcare!!
Perry is the male version of Palin. And it was a consulate, not an embassy, and it was Libya, not Lebanon. Maybe he was thinking of the 250 servicemen we lost in a terror attack in Lebanon during St. Reagan's tenure?