Texas Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign may be in jeopardy after Wednesday night's debate, when he could not remember all three of the federal agencies he would eliminate if elected president. But his campaign is trying to make the best of it. It's a two-pronged approach—making light of the mistake, and using the media criticism to rally his troops.
"We've all had human moments. President Obama is still trying to find all 57 states," Perry's campaign wrote in an early morning E-mail, referring to the time when Obama mispoke on the number of states in the United States. "While the media froths over this all too human moment, we thought we would take this opportunity to ask your help in doing something much more constructive: write us to let us know what federal agency you would most like to forget." The campaign set up an E-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, for supporters to write in with suggestions. "And we promise we will write down every last idea. So we don't forget," the campaign added. His campaign continued to use humor on the governor's official Twitter account to try to defuse the situation. Advertising an appearance on Fox News, Perry wrote "I hope they don't lose the feed before the third question!"
On Thursday, Perry hit the airwaves with a media blitz, appearing on morning news shows and a plannedan appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman. Those shows will give Perry a chance to make it look like an understandable human gaffe—after all, who can't remember freezing up while in front of the class? It brings to mind the last Texas governor to run for president, George W. Bush, whose frequent verbal flubs made him seem more like a normal guy to many. "He's a real human being, he's not a robot," campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan said after Wednesday night's debate, echoing the same theme as Bush.