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Rick Perry stumbles during Michigan GOP debate

November 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Eight GOP presidential contenders gathered in Rochester, Michigan for their latest debate Wednesday night.

The candidates covered a wide range of issues. However, the most surprising part of the debate was a memory lapse by one of the candidates.

The focus was supposed to be on economic issues, but the only thing people were talking about was Rick Perry's embarrassing mistake. It was a debate blunder that some experts say could be fatal for the governor from Texas.

Making matters worse, it was self inflicted. In the debate Perry said he would eliminate three federal agencies, but struggled to name them.

"Commerce, Education and the - what's the third one there? Let's see," he said.

Perry couldn't remember the agency and when fellow candidate Ron Paul suggested the Environmental Protection Agency, he quickly agreed. However, it wasn't the EPA. And when pressed, he drew another blank.

"The third agency of government I would do away with - the Education, the Commerce. And let's see. I can't. The third one, I can't," Perry said. "Oops."

Later in the debate, Perry revisited the question and said he meant to call for the elimination of the Energy Department.

On Good Morning America the governor did damage control, and he also made it clear he is not out of this race.

"The bottom line is that we're going to get up every day and talk to the American people and they know that there is not a perfect candidate that's made yet," said Perry. "I'm kind of proof positive of it every day that people make mistakes when they debate."

Perry's fumble on stage took a lot of pressure off Herman Cain, who has been battling sexual harassment accusations from several women.

"The American people deserve better than someone being tried in the court of public opinion due to unfounded accusations," said Cain. "I value my character and my integrity more than anything else."

With the help of a partisan crowd and his fellow Republicans on stage, Cain was able to put the issue to rest.

And by the end of the debate the only thing the pundits and many voters were talking about was Perry's 'oops.'

Many experts say Mitt Romney won the debate and was helped the most by all the negative attention on Cain and Perry.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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