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Was Perry’s 'oops' moment fatal? Weigh in before our editorial

November 10, 2011 |  2:11 pm

Rick PerryIt was the "oops" heard around the country when, during Wednesday's GOP debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry could recall only two of the three Cabinet departments he'd nix if elected president.

In the moment, editorial writer Michael McGough tweeted: "Rick Perry can't remember the third agency he would close down. We all have senior moments, but this doesn't help his image." Columnist Doyle McManus chimed in: "Rick Perry's campaign just ended. Given three tries, he couldn't remember what agencies he would abolish. Painful -- and final." And editorial writer Jon Healey followed up with this quip: "Romney shows he can remember all three points in a three-point plan. #notPerry #GOPdebate"

"After this, it's hard to imagine how he gets off the mat," McManus wrote in a recap of the debate.

But how bad was Perry's mistake? Was it simply a brain freeze and not worthy of the media criticism that's been heaped on the presidential candidate?

The editorial board debated these questions in Thursday's editorial meeting, prompting some members of the board to argue that Perry's gaffe was one of many, and further proof that the Texas governor is a loose cannon -- a man unsure of his convictions and unprepared for the responsibilities that come with the territory of our nation's highest public office. Others noted that we all have the occasional misfiring synapse, so it's not fair to judge Perry that way. Nor does it matter as much to us how articulate a president is; what matters are the president's policies.

What do you think? Make your best one-paragraph argument, pro or con, in the comments below about whether you think Perry's speechlessness during Wednesday's debate disqualifies him as a serious candidate. We'll let you know what the board decides in Friday's pages.



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--Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry checks his notes after he can't remember the third  government department he promises to shut down if elected. Credit: Jeff Kowalsky / EPA

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