Nov 9, 2011
The moment Rick Perry’s candidacy collapsed
He provides what may be the most painful, cringe-inducing slip-up in debate history VIDEO
By Steve Kornacki
The good news for Rick Perry is that everyone will probably stop talking about his bizarre New Hampshire speech now. The bad news is: He created an even more cringe-inducing YouTube moment at Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate — one that probably represents the most embarrassing public slip-up in what has been a campaign full of them for Perry.
Video is posted below, but we’ll stick to the transcript up here and pick things up mid-answer, a little more than an hour into the debate, when Perry — who had been mostly ignored by the moderators and his fellow candidates — tried to win some attention by talking about which Cabinet departments he’d eliminate as president:
PERRY: And I will tell you, it’s three agencies of government when I get there that are gone – Commerce, Education, and, the, uh, what’s the third one there? Let’s see…
RON PAUL (holding up five fingers): Five.
PERRY: Oh, five. OK. So, Commerce, Education, and the uh, uh, uh…
MITT ROMNEY: EPA?
PERRY: EPA. There you go.
DEBATE QUESTIONER JOHN HARWOOD: Seriously? Is EPA the one you’re talking about?
PERRY: No sir, No sir. We were talking about the agencies of government – EPA needs to be rebuilt, there’s no doubt about that…
HARWOOD: But you can’t name the third one?
PERRY: The third agency of government I would, I would do away with – Education, the uh, Commerce, and let’s see – I can’t, the third one. The third one there. Oops...
Update: The transcript has been changed to show that it was Mitt Romney — and not Ron Paul — who actually suggested the EPA to Perry. (h/t reader DR) Also, it’s probably worth noting that Perry, in an answer to a separate question more than ten minutes later, said that the Energy Department was the third “agency” he was grasping for.