- Associated Press - Thursday, November 10, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Republican presidential contender Rick Perry laughed about his debate performance with David Letterman, gamely poking fun at himself Thursday by giving the TV audience “Top 10 Rick Perry Excuses” for being unable to remember the three federal agencies he would eliminate.

Reason No. 7 for his brain freeze Wednesday on stage with his GOP rivals: “I thought the debate was tonight.”

Reason No. 6, “Hey, listen. You try concentrating with Mitt Romney smiling at you. That is one handsome dude,” Perry chuckled during his segment with the comedian, according to excerpts provided in advance by the show.

At the debate, Perry could only come up with the names of two of the three agencies he had promised to get rid of if elected president.

Perry later said he would eliminate the Commerce, Education and Energy departments.

He also acknowledged that he had “stepped in it” during the debate.

Perry is trying to turn the stumble into an opportunity. He is asking supporters to pitch in a few dollars for every agency they would abolish.

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