Sneak preview: Perry does damage control with Letterman’s “top ten” list

posted at 8:02 pm on November 10, 2011 by Allahpundit

The full clip won’t be available until tomorrow but we all know how it’s going to go, so the two items here should tide you over. I’m not one of the people who believes, counterintuitively, that last night’s atomic gaffe will end up helping his campaign, but I do understand their logic. Perry’s never been more sympathetic than he is right now: We’ve all suffered that same form of vapor lock and he’s been a gamer today in doing damage control by determinedly making fun of himself for it. (He’ll swing by Jon Stewart’s show after taping Letterman to be flogged for his sins there too.) The problem is, likability was never Perry’s problem. If it was, as it is with Romney, this comedy tour would do him a world of good. His problem is that he consistently seems not ready for primetime and none of the self-deprecation undoes that. Jonah Goldberg:

[P]ut aside the queasy awkwardness of the moment for a second. Perry couldn’t remember that he wants to shut down the Department of Energy!? For weeks, energy reform was the only substantive policy he’d put forward. Energy is still one of the only topics he can discuss with anything approaching fluency. But he couldn’t remember he wanted to shut down DOE? It’d be more understandable if he forgot the Department of Commerce — people forget the existence of the Commerce Department all of the time.

Last, and this is a point a lot of people are making, but it’s an important one. His performance last night confirmed — with an exclamation point — the negative narrative of his entire campaign. Everyone could forgive Ron Paul if he spaced out on the name of a cabinet agency he wanted to shutter, because everyone knows that Ron Paul knows what he knows and has no problem explaining himself under normal circumstances. People are much more unsure about Perry and he compounded that uncertainty last night. It’s fine to say everyone has these bad moments. That’s true. Everyone makes mistakes. What you look for are patterns. Last night was so deadly because Perry reinforced his pattern rather than deviated from it. And he was already on borrowed time.

Exactly. Campaigns are all about narratives, and the Perry narrative since virtually the first debate is that he’s never quite sure what he’s talking about unless he’s talking about Texas. Last night was the exclamation point. Over at the Examiner, Byron York attributes that to two probably fatal weaknesses:

The first is that Perry, for all his success as governor of Texas, appears not to have thought long and hard about why he wants to be president and what he would do if he achieved his goal. It’s the kind of intense thinking that goes on long before a campaign actually starts; once the candidate is on the trail, it’s too late for soul-searching, self-evaluation, and in-depth study. It’s hard for a candidate to have a firm grounding in issues and policy if he has not first done that kind of thinking.

The second reason is that since Perry made the decision to run for president — jumping in at the late date of August 13 — he has not done much of the kind of day-in, day-out, speaking-six-times-a-day campaigning that gives candidates the ability to repeat their positions extemporaneously, backward and forward, and sometimes in their sleep.

Look at Perry’s public schedule for the last month. It was plenty busy, but it wasn’t filled with the town halls and question-and-answer sessions that allow candidates to hone their message.

To some extent, Romney’s also guilty of those charges. He does do Q&A’s with voters, but he’s famously avoided the extended interview format of the Sunday morning chat shows because he doesn’t want to be quizzed on flip-flops for any length of time. I get no sense from him that he’s thought long and hard about why he wants to be president either, merely that he does want to be president — badly enough that he’ll say whatever he has to in order to win. It’s the intensity of that ambition, I think, that most keenly separates him from Perry. It’s impossible to imagine Romney spacing at a debate because we all assume he practices his answers for hours and hours and hours on end in the interest of winning. Perry seems more inclined to trust his gut and his track record of victory in Texas: He practices, I’m sure, but not like the robo-frontrunner does. Last night, when he went to the mental script, it just wasn’t there when he needed it. And now even Newt’s making fun of him for it.

Here’s the Letterman clip plus more damage control with Megyn Kelly this afternoon. He does a good job with the top ten, but there’s a lot of pathos in seeing him forced to stoop to this after he rode into the race three months ago as the conservative savior. Out: Rick Perry. In: Rupert Pupkin? Exit question via Nate Silver: Should he go for broke now in Iowa? He’s reached the point poll-wise where, if he doesn’t win there, he’s basically finished.


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The whole thing was pretty funny, really. I liked the part where he was asking Ron Paul for help.

Perry: There were three departments… Umm …what was that third one?

Paul: no, five! Abolish FIVE!

bitsy on November 10, 2011 at 10:51 PM

Perry Fangirls trying to spin last night’s disaster into a positive would be like Captain Smith claiming hitting the iceberg was a good thing.

bw222 on November 10, 2011 at 10:55 PM

bw222 on November 10, 2011 at 10:55 PM

Lol.

bitsy on November 10, 2011 at 11:06 PM

Ooops. Like it’s a juice box.

Lmao.

bitsy on November 10, 2011 at 11:10 PM

Daemonocracy on November 10, 2011 at 9:29 PM

Bwahahahaha!!!! Yeah, that’s right, attacking me fixes Perry. How utterly brilliant of you to figure that out!

csdeven on November 10, 2011 at 11:16 PM

Bwahahahaha!!!! Yeah, that’s right, attacking me fixes Perry. How utterly brilliant of you to figure that out!

csdeven on November 10, 2011 at 11:16 PM

Well no, I’m attacking you because you’re a stupid person.

I mean seriously, you attack Perry for not “coming up with his own ideas”, yet you support a guy who takes both sides of every idea and the one idea he did have was stolen by Obama.

If you really want an idea man, you should support Gingrich as I do.

Daemonocracy on November 10, 2011 at 11:22 PM

Churchill was a stutterer, Churchill often vomited before major speeches, and for years, Churchill would freeze in the middle of his speeches and not recall what to say…so all of you saying Perry is a fool, you also would have not supported Churchill, the man probably most attributed to keeping Europe free.
The irony, the first election after the war, Churchill was voted out…probably because of the same mentality that is attacking Perry.
Fickle voters…fickle posters…

right2bright on November 10, 2011 at 11:22 PM

Painful to watch.

Sherman1864 on November 10, 2011 at 11:23 PM

Painful to watch.

Sherman1864 on November 10, 2011 at 11:23 PM

Only if you have never spoken in public, or have never known anyone that has made a living doing that…it has happened to every speaker, every actor, every politician at some time…
I saw it as just someone so involved in the moment, they lose their train of thought…the only people that has never happened to, is people who have never thought…

right2bright on November 10, 2011 at 11:35 PM

Knucklehead on November 10, 2011 at 9:51 PM

To think we were once friends.

What a cultist rhymes with twitch you’ve become.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 11, 2011 at 12:13 AM

The flip side to the brain freeze? All the free EXTENDED coverage Perry received today. He was on so many shows, given extended time to clarify his stances, it was amazing! I learned more about his beliefs in those interviews than I learned in the debates. I’ll trade a 53 second blunder any day to learn what I learned today! He wasn’t limited to 30 second responses. Talk about making lemonade…

herm2416 on November 11, 2011 at 12:21 AM

O
O
P
S.

That was the real problem with Perry’s gaffe.

The stupid little Oops at the end.

What, is he three and looking for a lollipop?

profitsbeard on November 11, 2011 at 12:33 AM

I get no sense from him that he’s thought long and hard about why he wants to be president either, merely that he does want to be president — badly enough that he’ll say whatever he has to in order to win. It’s the intensity of that ambition, I think, that most keenly separates him from Perry. It’s impossible to imagine Romney spacing at a debate because we all assume he practices his answers for hours and hours and hours on end in the interest of winning.

Allah,
Way to rope something about Romney in here to hit him on where Romney has facts at his command not something he has “practiced” over and over. Romney KNOWS why he wants to be president and lays it out there every day…read his website. He putting out policies or Op-Ed pieces every single week.

These are the type of attacks by you and Rush and others that are unfair when someone else crashes you all have to somehow make a comment about Romney when he was not even part of the flub up no matter what it was whether it be the Perry brain fart or the Cain accusations or whatever, Romney has to get brought in to the conversation. That is weak.

g2825m on November 11, 2011 at 12:44 AM

LOL!! Oops, classic.

abobo on November 11, 2011 at 2:07 AM

I think this site should be renamed Rinopundit.

Opinionator on November 11, 2011 at 3:39 AM

Who the hey has a commentator who adopts the cloak of Islam in his name, fer cryin’ out loud?

“”””””””””””””””ALLAHPUNDIT””””””””””””””””

CHANGE your name.

And when you encounter the Divine, let us know, eh?

Opinionator on November 11, 2011 at 4:35 AM

Romney wants to be president so very much, and I so very much don’t want him to be that Perry is still an easy pick should it come down to either/or.

Extrafishy on November 11, 2011 at 5:36 AM

Honestly, I think some people are reading way too much into this. Brain freeze happens. It happens to us all. And it’s not because the guy isn’t familiar with his topic or because it’s not important to him. Heck, I’ve seen people blank out on the name of their own child. And it’s certainly not because they aren’t prioritizing or aren’t familiar. It’s a blip in brain function, a momentary loss of access to stored information. Nothing more than that.

Murf76 on November 11, 2011 at 7:47 AM

Who the hey has a commentator who adopts the cloak of Islam in his name, fer cryin’ out loud?

“”””””””””””””””ALLAHPUNDIT””””””””””””””””

CHANGE your name.

And when you encounter the Divine, let us know, eh?

Opinionator on November 11, 2011 at 4:35 AM

You know what opinions are like? I will give you a hint, everybody’s got one.

bitsy on November 11, 2011 at 8:03 AM

It’s a blip in brain function, a momentary loss of access to stored information. Nothing more than that.

Murf76 on November 11, 2011 at 7:47 AM

Tell that to the media if Perry becomes the nominee. They will morph him into a Alzheimer’s sufferer or maybe even a Down’s Syndrome adult. Whatever it takes to smash him to bits. Honesty died in them during the Clenis regime. Don’t even expect basic human decency this time around.

Extrafishy on November 11, 2011 at 8:25 AM

Just watched the Letterman clip.

OMG……. I can not believe he did that. It was not damage control. I would not want my next President to willingly subject himself to that for any reason.

Good bye Gov. Perry

mechkiller_k on November 11, 2011 at 8:41 AM

I think this site should be renamed Rinopundit.

Opinionator on November 11, 2011 at 3:39 AM

I think that AP/Ed/and Tina do a great job and unlike some of you don’t become purple kool-aide drinking personality cultists.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 11, 2011 at 8:47 AM

“Oops” ended the pain.

maverick muse on November 11, 2011 at 8:48 AM

annoyinglittletwerp on November 11, 2011 at 8:47 AM

Morning!

Looks like the media blitz has paid off somewhat. Lots of positive reaction on the web.

Oh did you see Perry apologized again for the heartless comment – calling it insulting.

gophergirl on November 11, 2011 at 8:54 AM

ooof. That was awkward. I did like the Romney quip, though.

Bee on November 11, 2011 at 8:55 AM

If for no other reason, via “oops” we know that Rick Perry can poke fun of himself and take being the brunt of a joke.

That’s no reason to mount a wrong on a wrong as if to make a right.

Rick Perry’s manager should have insisted on clearing the “Top 10″ before sending Perry out to be not-funny. It could have been a plus, but went flat, the lines being DUMB instead of clever. Block should have had license with Perry’s script.

maverick muse on November 11, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Hey, he had a brain freeze. Get over it.
The usual suspects in the media will use this for their usual attacks. Like that’s news. This might end up helping him or not.
Stranger things have happened. In any event, it’s over.
I don’t support Perry for President, I would rather have him remain as governor in my state, so I’m not a fanboy. I do think that this points out the need to get rid of the gotcha format and go with the Lincoln Douglas format. You learn more and candidates get to amplify their beliefs and plans.

gordo on November 11, 2011 at 9:00 AM

I think this site should be renamed Rinopundit.

Opinionator on November 11, 2011 at 3:39 AM

Who the h*ll is forcing you to comment here? Call and cop and get over it.

Shay on November 11, 2011 at 9:35 AM

I mean seriously, you attack Perry for not “coming up with his own ideas”, yet you support a guy who takes both sides of every idea and the one idea he did have was stolen by Obama.

If you really want an idea man, you should support Gingrich as I do.

Daemonocracy on November 10, 2011 at 11:22 PM

Your assumptions of who I support and why show you to be the stupidest person on Hot Air.

I support Cain.
I support Newt.
I support Romney.

BUT unlike you, I support them for logical reasons. Any of them are capable of beating Obama. And in the end, I will support that candidate who will beat Obama. I am not interested in making ridiculous ideological “statements” with my vote that only serve to help Obama get a second term and load up the SCOTUS with more progressives.

csdeven on November 11, 2011 at 10:00 AM

It’s a blip in brain function, a momentary loss of access to stored information. Nothing more than that.

Murf76 on November 11, 2011 at 7:47 AM

Hahahahahahaha!!!!!! “Momentary”. That’s rich!

csdeven on November 11, 2011 at 10:02 AM

CS, you are free to support who you want, but it would help if you weren’t such a POS about it.

Hard Right on November 11, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Wow! The bitter Palinistas turned Cainiacs and their BFFs, the Romneybots, are running loose on this thread. Nothing like a common hatred for Perry to bring them together. :)

LOL… I can understand your frustration… you are all wondering why Perry doesn’t die already. Sorry, he’s going nowhere. Get used to him – you’ll be seeing him lots of times over the next eight years.

TheRightMan on November 10, 2011 at 9:16 PM

Since your boy withered under pressure (which is sorta anti-presidential, temperament-wise) a little humility on your part might be in order rather than doubling down on arrogant.

“President Perry, you have to make a decision… do we attack or not… Mr. President… we’re running out of time… look at him… does he even hear me…? Mr. President…?”

Yeah, we need a guy like that.

Akzed on November 11, 2011 at 10:57 AM

I hate it when one of our guys agrees to go on a show like Letterman and agrees to read the unfunny stuff they write for him/her. #6 in particular is something that Rick Perry would never have said. Makes him sound gay and we all know that the libs, despite protesting to the contrary, use gays like they use blacks and Jews every four years. It’s like clockwork.

ncjetsfan on November 11, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Certain people sure get off being utter human garbage. Tell me CS and Rightman, are you so pathetic that you need to post such things to feel good about yourselves? Or did toturing animals lose it’s thril?

Hard Right on November 11, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Perry didn’t need to do this. If you say you want to focus on serious issues you don’t become a prop in these throwaway TV venues. In fact, deciding to do this for Letterman is probably worse than the debate gaffe.

Voters are only going to forgive so much, so his positives have to outweigh these errors. Unfortunately, we’re not seeing it.

virgo on November 11, 2011 at 11:15 AM

BUT unlike you, I support them for logical reasons. Any of them are capable of beating Obama. And in the end, I will support that candidate who will beat Obama. I am not interested in making ridiculous ideological “statements” with my vote that only serve to help Obama get a second term and load up the SCOTUS with more progressives.

csdeven on November 11, 2011 at 10:00 AM

So you support Cain, even though his big 999 idea came from Rich Lowry and Stephen Moore and his Chilean model for Social Security reform comes from…well…even you can figure that out.

So you support Romney ( of course ) ? I already said my piece on him where his one idea is hated by conservatives but adopted by Obama.

I am speaking specifically on your criticism of Perry for not “comning up with his own ideas”. In your bizarro world a Presidential candidate has no ideas if dares consult with think tanks and experts or revisit past proposals; he must reinvent the wheel each time and do it all by himself. Nevermind the outstanding Texas Economic record or that the other guys you support in the race do exactly as Perry has done. Going by your own ill thought out words, the only candidate you should be supporting is Gingrich.

You are being irrational because you are stuck on stupid.

dumb dumb dumb dumb….dumb

Daemonocracy on November 11, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Say what you will, but it’s nice to see that he can make fun of himself. If it were Obozo in that position he’d do his best to blame Bush and republicans as a whole…

stacman on November 11, 2011 at 12:05 PM

Common Sense on November 10, 2011 at 10:25 PM

That was a good interview. The people here who bash Perry won’t watch it. There is a great blog entry there that explains pretty well why I also continue to support Perry:

http://www.redstate.com/gator_hoo/2011/11/10/why-i-will-continue-to-support-perry/

kg598301 on November 11, 2011 at 12:15 PM

The flip side to the brain freeze? All the free EXTENDED coverage Perry received today. He was on so many shows, given extended time to clarify his stances, it was amazing! I learned more about his beliefs in those interviews than I learned in the debates. I’ll trade a 53 second blunder any day to learn what I learned today! He wasn’t limited to 30 second responses. Talk about making lemonade…

herm2416 on November 11, 2011 at 12:21 AM

I agree..
He did look like a dumbass when it happened, but he is somewhat compelling when he is given time to expand on his views.
Can’t say as much for Cain…

Fartnokker on November 11, 2011 at 12:57 PM

I thought he was very funny. It shows a lot of character to be able to laugh at yourself. I think he should take Laura Ingrams suggestion and go on Saturday Night Live.

Rapunzel on November 11, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Fartnokker on November 11, 2011 at 12:57 PM

What the…?

kg598301 on November 11, 2011 at 2:42 PM

My favorite one was “I had a five-hour energy drink, six-hours before”. I thought most of them were pretty cute. And Letterman being understanding — by describing how he had bombed himself the night before at an event for Brokaw — was unexpected (since he’s a jerk, lol).

-Aslan’s Girl

Aslans Girl on November 11, 2011 at 5:19 PM

My favorite interview of him out of the whole media blitz yesterday, was the one with Greta. I need to find a clip somewhere because I’d missed the beginning; but the rest was very substantive about the border especially and he apologized two more times about “you don’t have a heart”. Really good, serious interview which was a good balance for his lighter moments on Letterman.

Aslans Girl on November 11, 2011 at 5:23 PM

Cain’s gotten a ton of free face time for the Politico hit piece, maybe Perry’s impression of a drunk is just smart politics to get attention. It’s certainly getting the YouTube videos a lot of hits, so it’s an attention grab in one regard, at least.

The whole thing was pretty funny, really. I liked the part where he was asking Ron Paul for help.

Perry: There were three departments… Umm …what was that third one?

Paul: no, five! Abolish FIVE!

bitsy on November 10, 2011 at 10:51 PM

Totally. Prior to the Tea Party, the whole “abolish alphabet agencies” schtick was Ron Paul’s trademark. It’s the height of irony that he got the chance to steal the spotlight back on the subject.

Knucklehead on November 10, 2011 at 9:51 PM

To think we were once friends.

What a cultist rhymes with twitch you’ve become.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 11, 2011 at 12:13 AM

Stay classy. I’m sure there are plenty of people who could say the exact same about you. Is Knucklehead going to life rent-free in your head the way Paul and Palin do? Or is Cain currently occupying the last available space there?

RachDubya on November 11, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Knucklehead on November 10, 2011 at 9:51 PM

To think we were once friends.

What a cultist rhymes with twitch you’ve become.

annoyinglittletwerp on November 11, 2011 at 12:13 AM

We used to be FB friends, but you went all batsh_t crazy because I like Sarah Palin and I fell asleep every time ZZZZPaw spoke. I’ve gotten over it. lol

darwin-t on November 11, 2011 at 6:29 PM

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