GOP Debate: Rick Perry's Campaign Denies He Said 'Ronald Raven'

Perry's new name for Ronald Reagan.

ByABC News
August 6, 2015, 7:43 PM

— -- Did Rick Perry just have another 'oops' moment?

During FOX News pre-debate forum featuring seven candidates who didn't qualify for the 9 p.m. GOP presidential debate, Perry was asked a question on illegal immigration. In answering the question, the former Texas governor meant to mention the GOP icon Ronald Reagan, but some said it sounded as if he slipped up and called the 40th president by the wrong name -- "Ronald Raven."

"Americans are tired of hearing this debate want to go to 'What are you going to do about illegal immigration”?'" Perry said. "For 30 years this country has been baited with that. All the way back to when Ronald Raven signed a piece of legislation that basically allowed for amnesty for over 4 million people and the border is still not secure."

But campaign spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said Perry "clearly said Ronald Reagan."

Perry stumbled several times during his short-lived 2012 presidential run, when he skyrocketed to the top of the pack but dropped quickly after a serious of debate missteps.

Most notably, he made a gaffe during a debate in November 2011, when he forgot the third of three federal agencies he would eliminate as president, a central tenet of his platform.

He said he’d get rid of the Commerce and Education Departments, but after many “um’s” and laughter from the audience, Perry said: “The third agency of government I would do away with -- the Education, uh, the uh, I -- Commerce, and let’s see. I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”

That cringe-worthy moment became known as Perry’s “oops moment” and accelerated the crippling of his campaign.

He later said he “stepped in it” and has since blamed the mistake of lack of preparation and health issues stemming from back surgery.