By now, most people have seen or heard about Rick Perry‘s inability to name the Energy Department as the third federal department he’d do away with as President. But they’ve also probably seen him talk to reporters after the debate and go on morning shows to explain that he simply made a mistake. On FOX and Friends Thursday morning, Perry generally eschewed talking points and showed a surprisingly human side, taking his lumps in front of a national television audience.
“If anyone’s looking for the slickest politician or the smoothest debater, I readily admit I’m not that person,” Perry said. “I’m hoping the American people are the types of individuals who understand that there are mistakes that get made.”
The hosts of the show couldn’t have hit Perry with more depressing topics — hitting on his gaffe, his low poll numbers, and even reading him a tweet from a Washington Post reporter who said he should go home, suggesting that his candidacy is over. But Perry answered every question, gave clear retorts, and even showed a little humor. He may be a terrible debater, and it might be tough to fight his way out of anything higher than third place, but The RIck Perry Mea Culpa Tour, in the 12 hours following his debate forgetfulness, might actually work in his favor. People realize that it’s a pressure-packed situation, and they understand that there are myriad issues and numbers to remember. Perry got knocked down pretty hard, by his own doing (Larry Sabato tweeted that, “Perry’s forgetfulness is the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate”), but he’s doing an extraordinary job in the “getting back up” category. Plus, this Saturday is the national security and foreign policy debate, two topics that Perry, as a former Air Force pilot and governor of a border state, should do well in.
Perry will not be leading any polls anytime soon, but he now has the benefit of getting some good backlash buzz from people being incredibly mean to him and declaring his candidacy dead (the first GOP candidate to drop out four years ago, just for comparison, was Fred Thompson, in late January). Perry will now get extra face-time on morning shows, people concerned with job creation who generally don’t care much about federal departments being cut will just see it as another funny Perry slip-up, and those who don’t know much about him might actually find him charming and human in the way he faces his detractors today (which is: head on). There’s something noble and bold in that approach, and chances are that Perry may win some fans by facing the music. Granted, it’s music that he created, but it still says something about his character. Or, at the very least, the cleverness of his handlers making him do the rounds.
It might not last long, but Rick Perry could be in line for a small bump in polls, thanks, ironically, to how he has gracefully handled the gaffe that many overzealous pundits are saying might end his campaign.
Enjoy the video of one of his appearances below, courtesy of Fox News:
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