Perry mocks self over brain-freeze gaffe

Texas Gov. Rick Perry stands with other Republican presidential hopefuls, from left to right, former restaurant executive Herman Cain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, at the CBS News/National Journal foreign policy debate Nov. 12, 2011, in Spartanburg, S.C.
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Texas Gov. Rick Perry added a few moments of levity to Saturday night's debate on the serious topics of foreign policy and national security with a bit of self-deprecating humor about his brain freeze from earlier in the week.

(Watch at left)

In an exchange with "CBS Evening News" anchor Scott Pelley, Perry dryly said he was happy that Pelley could recall the name of the Energy Department, which escaped the presidential hopeful during a debate Wednesday night.

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Here's a transcript of the brief exchange:

Pelley: "Governor Perry, you advocate the elimination of the Department of Energy. If you eliminate the Department of Energy--"
Perry: "Glad you remembered it."
Pelley: "I've had some time to think about it, sir."
Perry: "Me too."

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It wasn't the first time Perry brought up his 53-second-long struggle to try and remember the department's name before apologizing and saying "oops." On Saturday night, he referred to it after explaining his approach to the U.S. foreign aid budget.

"As a matter of fact, we ought to try that doing that with some of those agencies that I was trying to think the name of," Perry said.

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Before the debate, Perry joked that he'd tap former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum if he needed help with his memory.

(Watch at left)

Perry: "So tonight if I need a lifeline, I'm just gonna look to you, OK?"
Santorum: "I'll fill in the blanks."

During the debate, one of Perry's fellow Republicans, South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham, poked a little fun at the Texas governor when he asked a question.

"Three-part question," Graham said. "I hope I can remember all three parts."


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  • Alex Sundby

    Alex Sundby is an associate news editor for