Rick Perry on His ‘Oops’: There’s No ‘Perfect Candidate’

Image credit: Paul Sancya/AP Photo

Texas Governor Rick Perry hit the airwaves this morning to try to recover from a performance that one presidential scholar deemed “the most devastating” of any primary debate.

“The bottom line is that we’re going to get up every day and talk to the American people and they know that there is not a perfect candidate that’s made yet. I’m kind of proof positive of it every day that people make mistakes when they debate. People make mistakes when they make statements,” he told me. “But there is one thing that Americans do know about me, and that is my conservative beliefs about getting this country back on track are very deep founded.”

During last night’s CNBC debate in Michigan the GOP presidential candidate could not name the third agency he would cut.

“The third agency of government I would — I would do away with, Education…Commerce and, let’s see. I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops,” Perry said.

This morning the governor told me that at the time there were so many federal agencies “running thru my mind that I’d like to get rid of. And the Energy Department would not come out.”

Trying to play off that “oops,” Perry is asking people to go to his website to vote for the federal agency they would most like to “forget.” But even if the campaign is trying to make the flub work for them, it came at an inopportune time. Perry is already falling in the polls, dropping 16 points since his 29% high in September.

The governor said he realized the campaign would be a “long slog” when he entered the race and will keep talking about his plans to help America recover.

“We’ve laid out a plan that really gets America working again. It gives people hope that we can get this country back on track. And again, there are going to be some mistakes made and we’ll deal with those as we go thru them and Americans are pretty forgiving people,” he said. “What Americans are not forgiving about is those sitting around the dinner table last night, watching the debate, worrying about whether or not they are going to be able to have a job in the future to take care of their family.”

George Stephanopoulos