Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry went into damage control mode today, trying to spin last night's debate gaffe (video below) to his advantage. It's a trick that has sometimes worked for Sarah Palin when she has dropped the political football.
Hitting the morning talk shows, Perry said his "brain freeze" simply shows that he is not "the slickest politician" among the Republican presidential candidates and he argued that America needs "substance more than style."
Last night at the debate in Rochester, Michigan, Gov. Perry forgot one of the chief elements of his own economic plan. Trying to explain the three government agencies he would axe, Gov. Perry crashed and burned as he tried in vain to remember them all.
“Commerce, education, and the umm, what’s the third one there? Let’s see… The third agency of government I would do away with – education, uh the, commerce, and let’s see, I can’t. The third one I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”
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The 53 second debacle ended only after Gov. Perry conceded that he could not remember the third agency that he would cut.
On CNN's 'American Morning,' he tried to backtrack: "I bet there are a lot of Americans out there that would like to forget some agencies of government too, that are costing them their jobs, that's tearing this economy up."
"That's the seriousness of what we have here, not because I had a brain freeze and failed to remember an agency of government that we do frankly need to do away with, in the form of the Department of Energy."
In an interview with NBC's 'Today' show (video below), he admitted that his forgetfulness was not a shining moment in his campaign, but tried to turn it into a talking point about super-sized government.
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In an interview with the Associated Press this morning, Gov. Perry admitted that he "stepped in it," but that the setback won't force him out of the presidential race: "Oh shoot no. This ain't a day for quitting nothing."
Perry's Debate Gaffe:
Perry on the 'Today' Show: