Texas Governor Rick Perry’s camp has found a new way to take advantage of his latest poor debate performance, while adding to his mailing list and, hopefully, donor rolls.
His website had a banner on Thursday morning reading, “What part of the Federal Government would you like to forget about the most? Click here to vote!” Nestled beside a fundraising appeal, the link let visitors to the site choose between 10 government departments and commissions — including the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and National Endowment “of” the Arts (it’s the National Endowment FOR the Arts). Voters gave their names, email addresses and zip codes to vote by submitting their answers to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Republican presidential hopeful crashed during a debate in Michigan on Wednesday night when he stood on stage and struggled to remember the third of three U.S. government agencies he would close if elected next November. Perry remembered that he wanted to shut down the Commerce and Education departments but could not remember the third — Energy — despite prompting from a moderator and some of his rivals.
His uncomfortable struggle — Perry came up with the answer 10 minutes later, after the debate had moved on — was the most memorable moment of a CNBC-sponsored debate on economic issues. It prompted questions about how long Perry’s campaign can last. Although he has been among the leaders in campaign fundraising, Perry has dropped from a Republican front-runner to trailing in opinion polls amidst a series of disappointing debate performances.
Perry has vowed to press on with his campaign. He and his aides have made the case that gaffes occur in every campaign and show that he is human and more about substance than style.