It's been engaging following the American presidential contenders as they gear up. One thing you can rely on is the spectacle. The departure of Herman Cain hasn't taken anything away from the entertainment value... after all Rick Perry is still hanging in there.
Perry's greatest challenge since he joined the the Republican roadshow has been well... Rick Perry.
He started out in August like a gunslinger who had swaggered into town aiming to set things straight, six-shooters blasting in the general direction of the White House. Then weird stuff started happening - vacant moments, memory lapses, odd segues, bloopers that even his swagger-and-smile routine couldn't fix.
Pundits began questioning if Perry's oops moments were caused by performance anxiety, a lack of basic knowledge, some undiagnosed organic problem or just plain old dumb-and-dumber syndrome. A Texan on a Huffpo comment thread made the observation "Yall are experiencing the Oooops us Texans have been stuck with for ten years."
During the CNBC debate Perry proposed a plan for overhauling government. He started off gamely enough saying there were three agencies he would knock off... "Commerce... Education..." then went blank. Someone in the audience yelled out "EPA" but that wasn't what Rick was trawling for in the canyon of his mind. He was a bit like the slow kid at the back of the class adding with help of his digits as he struggled to deliver...
"And let's see. I can't. The third one, I can't."
With other gaffes Perry has been edging perilously close to McCain "my fellow prisoners" territory.
In Ames, Iowa, he complained about money put into the solar industry, in particular the energy company Solyndra. However it came out as "I want to say it was over $500 million that went to the country Solynda." Land of the Solyndians presumably.
In New Hampshire the bloopers kept coming. He screwed up on the 2012 election date and the voting age. In the US the voting age is 18 but Lone Star pegged it at 21.
A further blank moment occurred during an interview with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register. Perry criticized the appointment of "activist judges" but when he tried to provide a name he came up empty. Never a guy to quit, he blurted out "Montomayor." Where that came from is anyone's guess although curiously enough Monto was the name of an infamous redlight district in Dublin, Ireland. A board member let him off the hook by offering "Sotomayor" - the name of the Supremo in question.
The hole got deeper when he referred to "eight unelected" justices during a discussion of school prayer. In fact there are nine justices on the US Supreme Court.
The list of gaffes will no doubt will be added to in the coming weeks. When asked if missteps might sideline his campaign Perry was quick to respond in the negative - “Oh, shoot, no. This ain’t a day for quitting nothing.”
Funny Rick Perry vid beneath (dubbed):
For more: MNN, Huffington Post