Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. World
  2. Americas
  3. North America
10 November 2011updated 27 Sep 2015 5:37am

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.

By Samira Shackle

 

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.”

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

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.