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Rick Perry on debate gaffe: "I stepped in it"

WASHINGTON–GOP White House hopeful Rick Perry made the morning tv rounds on Thursday, in damage control mode of his gaffe at last night’s CNBC debate–when he could not remember the agencies he has said he wants to cut.

On NBC’s “The Today Show,” Perry told host Ann Curry he is not going to end his campaign over this, will be in another debate in South Carolina in a few days and generally tried to make light of his blooper.

“I will tell you, I don’t mind saying clearly that I stepped in it last night. But I think I’m kind of like most Americans. And there are so many agencies of government out there we’d like to forget. The Department of Energy was one of those.

“But, you know, seriously, the issue wasn’t about whether I can sing off a line of a number of agencies. It truly gets to the core of the matter of we’ve got so much government out there, and people are so tired of government telling them how to do this — what light bulb to buy, what car standards they’re going to have for fuel efficiency, et cetera. Going through that long list of government agencies is really what this campaign is all about. You know, and so I’m human like everyone else.”

Perry on quitting: “Ann, you know what today is. It’s the 236th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. If there was a day to stay in a fight, this is it. So, you bet, I’m going to continue on. And this campaign is about ideas. It’s not about who’s the slickest debater or whether anyone’s made a mistake or not. We’re all going to make mistakes.”

On Cain’s team assertion Perry camp leaked the story about sexual harrassment. “Absolutely not. And I asked my campaign once that was said. And clearly I have no idea where that came from, but it didn’t come from my campaign.”