The Book of Threes

Rick Perry Forgets Which Three Agencies He Would Eliminate As President

PERRY: 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.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: Five.

PERRY: Five. Okay. Commerce, Education, and the —

[UNKNOWN]: EPA?

PERRY: EPA. There you go.

Q: Seriously — is EPA one you are talking about?

PERRY: No, sir, no, sir. We are talking about the — agencies of government — EPA needs to be rebuilt.

Q: You can’t — you can’t name the third one?

PERRY: The third agency of government I would — I would do away with Education, the —

Q: Commerce.

PERRY: Commerce and, let’s see. I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.

About 15 minutes later in the debate, Perry said he meant to say that the Department of Energy is the third agency he wanted to eliminate.

According to Peter Hamby of CNN, Perry showed up at the spin room after the debate and told reporters, “I’m sure glad I had my boots on because I sure stepped in it out there.”

Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan also went on CNBC afterward and said, “Every modern president has had a gaffe” and argued that the governor still named two more federal agencies to eliminate that President Obama has.

Perry has been criticized as a weak, erratic debater, and Wednesday night’s performance is likely to solidify that reputation. After a late September debate, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol wrote, “But no front-runner in a presidential field has ever, we imagine, had as weak a showing as Rick Perry. It was close to a disqualifying two hours for him.”

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Three is the Magic Number

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