Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the one-time Republican front-runner who saw his star fade after a series of shabby debate performances, made yet another unforced error during Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate.
While selling his tax plan and his record in Texas, Perry said three government agencies would be eliminated in a Perry presidency. “I will tell you, it’s three agencies of government, when I get there, that are gone,” he said. “Commerce, education, and the, um, what’s the third one there …”
Perry then trailed off, unable to remember the third agency he would eliminate. Amid audience laughter, another candidate volunteered the idea of axing the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Is the EPA the one you were talking about?” moderator John Harwood asked Perry. “No sir,” Perry replied. “We were talking about the agencies of government — the EPA needs to be rebuilt, there’s no doubt about that.”
“But you can’t name a third one?” Harwood asked again. Perry then stalled for a few moments before admitting that he could not, in fact, recall the name of the third agency he would eliminate as president.
“The third one I can’t,” Perry said, smiling. “Oops.”
Minutes later, Perry remembered the Department of Energy was the third agency he wants abolished. After the debate was finished, Perry joked about the moment with reporters in the spin room.
“I’m glad I have my boots on,” he said, “because I sure stepped in it tonight.”