The Washington Times - November 10, 2011, 01:20AM

Watching Texas Governor Rick Perry fail to answer which 3 federal agencies he would eliminate was more than painful.

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“I would do away with Education, the…Commerce and, let’s see, I can’t,” he said. “The third one, I can’t.” Adding to the catastrophe, the Texas Governor said, “oops.”  Governor Perry, in fact, looked over to Congressman Ron Paul, Texas Republican, for help momentarily, but Perry eventually clarified his answer later on saying: “By the way, that was the Department of Energy I was reaching for a while ago.”

This gaffe may have cost Perry dearly. One donor tweeted out to the Washington Post: “Perry campaign is over. Time to go home.”

Jokes filled the media filing center at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan on Wednesday where the GOP debate was held as well as on Twitter with cracks like, “Moe, Larry, and uhhh…”

Unfortunately for Perry, this not the first time he found himself flailing in the debates. In Las Vegas, he lost his cool when he and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney sparred over illegal immigration. In Orlando, he went after conservatives for “not having a heart” who disagreed with him over his immigration views. In Tampa, he was on the defensive when both Congresswoman Bachmann and former Senator Rick Santorum clobbered him over Texas’s HPV’s vaccine policy. 

Mr. Perry still has much money in his campaign war chest; however, if Perry begins to lose more donors over gaffes like tonight, one wonders if he can make it through the South Carolina primaries.

Perry showed himself to be a charming campaigner when he came to Ames, Iowa following the straw poll. He easily connected with people and quickly took the wind out of the sails of Iowa Straw Poll winner Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican. However, his debate performances continue to be lacking.

Governor Perry, who rarely if ever comes to the media spin room after past debates, spoke to reporters about his performance tonight. “I’m glad I had my boots on tonight,” he said. “I stepped in it out there.

Conversely, Herman Cain, who is known for showing up in the media spin room after debates was not there tonight. Mr. Cain handily responded to a question from CNBC moderator Maria Bartiromo about women who are accusing him of past sexual harassment.