Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry says he will eliminate three federal agencies if elected president, but he just isn’t sure what they are.
At Wednesday night’s CNBC Republican presidential debate, the candidate managed to remember the first two agencies but repeatedly failed to name the third.
“I will tell you, it’s three agencies when I get there that are gone,” Perry said while pointing three fingers at Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).
“Commerce, Education and, uh, what’s the third one there?” he wondered to himself.
“You need five,” Paul interrupted.
“Commerce, Education and the, um…,” Perry tried again.
“The EPA?” former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney volunteered.
“The EPA. There you go,” Perry agreed.
“Seriously?” CNBC debate moderator John Harwood asked. “Is EPA the one you were talking about?”
“No, sir. We’re talking about the agencies of government — the EPA needs to be rebuilt,” Perry said.
“But you can’t name the third one?” Harwood pressed.
“The third agency of government — I would do away with Education, the, um, Commerce and let’s see…,” Perry continued, glancing down at the podium. “I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”
After a commercial break, the candidate recalled that he wanted to also eliminate the Department of Energy.
“I’m glad I have my boots on because I sure stepped in it tonight,” Perry was quoted saying after the event ended.
Watch this video from CNBC, broadcast Nov. 9, 2011.