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GOP Debate: Perry Can't Remember Name of Government Agency He Would Eliminate as President


"The…ahh…Education…ahh…Commerce, and, let’s see...I can’t...Sorry. Oops." • National Journal: Flip-Flopper, Flop and Fiasco • Business Insider: Debate Disaster Kills Perry Campaign

Once considered a front-runner in the GOP presidential race, Texas Governor Rick Perry has suffered some less-than-flattering moments in front of the camera in the past and during Wednesday night's CNBC presidential debate was no exception.

In response to a question from Caterpillar CEO Douglas R. Oberhelman, Perry tried fruitlessly to name all three government agencies he would eliminate if elected president.

“It’s three agencies of government when I get there that are gone – Commerce, Education and the um, what’s the third one there? Let’s see. Oh five – Commerce, Education and the um, um,” Perry faltered.

Mitt Romney tried to help by offering, “EPA?”

But that answer apparently didn't satisfy Perry, who tried again.

“The third agency I would do away with…the…ahh…Education…ahh…Commerce, and, let’s see. I can’t...the third one. I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”

Some 15 minutes or so later, the elusive name finally came to Perry: The Department of Energy.

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Addressing reporters directly after the debate, Perry said, "I'm glad I had my boots on tonight. I stepped in it out there."

He added, "I may have forgotten Energy, but I haven't forgotten my conservative principles."

When asked whether his blunder was embarrassing, Perry replied, "I stepped in it, man. Yeah, it was embarrassing. Of course it was."

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Regardless of his performance, Perry told reporters that he still plans to be in South Carolina on Saturday.


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