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Rick Perry on epic debate lapse: 'I stepped in it, man'

November 09, 2011|By Maeve Reston
  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a debate hosted by CNBC and the Michigan Republican Party at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a debate hosted by CNBC and the Michigan… (Scott Olson / Getty Images )

Reporting from Rochester, Mich. — Rick Perry made a rare appearance in the media spin room moments after Wednesday's Republican debate, and was mobbed by reporters asking him if he could recover.

An hour earlier, the Texas governor had struggled to name the three agencies he would dismantle as president, a point he makes routinely on the campaign trail.

"I stepped in it, man," Perry said when a reporter asked if he was embarrassed. "Yeah, it was embarrassing. Of course it was."

"But here's what's more important: People understand that our principles, our conservative principles, are what matters, not that in a litany of agencies that I think we need to get rid of, there's a whole bunch of them that I would suggest to you need to be downsized and what have you. But it's those simple conservative principles are what people are interested in."

"We'll win the day at the end of that," he said.

Not only has Perry's momentary lapse overshadowed his past weak performances; pundits immediately ranked it as one of the worst debate showings in modern presidential history.

"From time to time you may forget about an agency that you are going to zero out, but everyone tomorrow will understand that the Energy Department is one of those that needs to be done away with," Perry said.

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