Rick Perry wants to get rid of three agencies of the federal government. Just don’t ask him to identify the third one.
In easily the most painful moment of an already uneven set of debate performances, the Texas governor on Wednesday night fumbled badly when describing how he would cut government in the CNBC Republican debate.
Perry’s lack of knowledge about his own political platform was awkward on the stage and immediately raised eyebrows in the Twitterverse, and could possibly be a pivot point in his campaign with longer-lasting implications for the race.
It went down like this. Perry began by saying “ I will tell you, it is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone. Commerce, Education, and the -- what’s the third one there? Let’s see.”
After struggling for a while, Mitt Romney attempted to throw Perry a bone and volunteered “EPA” — the Environmental Protection Agency. But it wasn’t the EPA, so Perry struggled on to hit on the right answer.
“The third agency of government I would -- I would do away with, Education, the...,” Perry continued to try and find his answer.
“Commerce,” an unknown voice volunteered, according to the debate transcript.
“Commerce and, let’s see,” Perry answered. “I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”
The next time he was asked a question, Perry said the Department of Energy was the third agency he would eliminate.
The audience applauded politely.
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