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Rick Perry forgets which government agency he would axe

The Republican candidate's failure to remember his own policy could spell the end of his campaign.

 

It wasn't long ago that Rick Perry's team were suggesting that he would pull out of some debates -- and after last night's performance, they will be wishing he had.

During last night's CNBC debate, the Republican primary candidate could not remember the name of a government department he was planning to axe. He said: " 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."

It was a painfully awkward moment on stage. After a while, his rival Mitt Romney tried to help, suggesting that it might be the EPA (Environment Protection Agency). It wasn't that, so Perry kept struggling on. Eventually he gave up: "I can't. The third one, I can't. Sorry. Oops." When he was answering his next question, he said that he had been "reaching for" the Department of Energy.

Forgetting your own policy is a pretty serious error, and it is difficult to see how Perry -- already way down in the polls -- will recover from this. One person who will be grateful for his gaffe is Herman Cain. The heat was expected to be on him after a string of sexual harrassment allegations, but attention was entirely detracted.