Rick Perry puts funny spin on GOP debate gaffe by reading Top Ten list on 'Late Show with David Letterman'
'I wanted to help take the heat off my buddy Herman Cain'
BY Alison Gendar , Aliyah Shahid , Thomas M. Defrank & Corky Siemaszko
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, November 10 2011, 11:28 PM
GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry presents Top Ten list on 'Late Show with David Letterman.'
Tongue-tied Texan Rick Perry made a beeline to New York Thursday in the wake of his disastrous debate goof in hopes of undoing the damage to his faltering presidential campaign.
“Oh shoot, no,” Perry answered upon landing, when asked by reporters if he was toast. “This ain’t a day for quitting.”
Perry tried to show he wasn’t rattled by taking a few more on the chin, this time in a pre-planned comedy routine, while reading the Top Ten list on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman.”
“I dont know what youre taking about I think things went well,” was his excuse No. 9.
Perry had the political world abuzz for suffering a “brain freeze”
on one of his key talking points, stammering for nearly a minute before saying, “Sorry . . . Oops.”
Perry, in his late night comedy turn, found himself riffing on chief rival Mitt Romney (“That is one handsome dude!) and referencing the sex-harassment scandal of another GOP contender (“I wanted to help take the heat off my buddy Herman Cain”).
In between, Perry made the media rounds, hitting ABC’s “Good Morning America,” CBS’ “The Early Show,” NBC’s “Today,” “Fox and Friends” and CNN’s “American Morning.”
“The issue wasn’t about whether I can sing off a line of a number of agencies,” Perry said on Today, an aw-shucks grin fixed on his face. “This is not about who is the slickest debater.
Perry, who had cancelled a fund-raiser to do damage control, told ABC he’d be ready for the next Republican debate Saturday in South Carolina.
But in a quip that had to give his handlers pause, Perry said he was prepping for this one “just like weve prepared all along.”
His glaring mistake Wednesday was not the first he’s made over the course of six presidential debates, but it was the worst — by far.
And Perry backers fear it could feed into the notion that he lacks the smarts to be President, especially when compared to the so-far unflappable Romney or smooth-talking President Obama.
The swaggering Texas governor was in the midst of listing which three government agencies he would cut if he were President when he suddenly drew a blank.
“I would do away with the Education, the Commerce and — let’s see — I can’t,” he said.
Then, for about 50 agonizing seconds, Perry struggled to remember the third agency on his chopping block.
“Seriously?” asked moderator John Harwood. “You can’t name the third one?”
Defeated, Perry conceded he couldn’t.
“The third one,” he said. “I can’t. Sorry . . . Oops.”
Watching from his perch as head of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, Larry Sabato tweeted his astonishment.
“To my memory, Perry’s forgetfulness is the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate.”
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