ROCHESTER, Mich. — Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry says he would eliminate three federal agencies. Just don't ask him to name them.
The Texas governor struggled during a televised debate with his rivals Wednesday after saying he would nix the Commerce and Education departments but drew a blank when the moderator asked what the third agency would be.
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Perry, who previously has called on the elimination of the Energy Department, said, "Oops," as he drew a blank and even looked up and down the stage and asked other candidates to refresh his memory.
After a break, he noted that he meant the Energy Department.
In the spin room after the debate, Perry told reporters: "I'm glad I had my boots on tonight. I stepped in it out there."
Regarding the gaffe, he said: "I may have forgotten Energy, but I haven't forgotten my conservative principles."
When a reporter asked whether the misstep was embarrassing, Perry replied, "I stepped in it, man. Yeah, it was embarrassing. Of course it was."
Perry has struggled at previous debates and, although he's committed to four more, his advisers are considering skipping future ones.
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