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Late Night: Rick Perry can't quite explain his own gaffes

December 2, 2011 |  8:51 am

It's been a tough few weeks for presidential candidate Rick Perry, whose jaw-dropping blunder in a Republican debate last month made him the laughingstock of late-night television.

Perry, who already tried to save face by delivering the "Top 10" list for David Letterman, paid a visit to "The Tonight Show" on Thursday. Not surprisingly, the very first thing Jay Leno brought up was Perry's recent string of gaffes.

"You've provided us with a lot of material," Leno said rather diplomatically. "What happened with the brain freeze?"

"It happens, man," Perry replied, his Texas drawl suddenly thicker than ever. "Every now and then I call my dog by the wrong name."

Leno also inquired about a double slip-up by the Texas governor earlier this week. Speaking to a college-age audience in New Hampshire, Perry asked for the support of "those of you that will be 21 by Nov. 12." (Of course, the voting age is 18, not 21, and election day is Nov. 6, 2012, not Nov. 12.)

Perry offered up a halfhearted explanation: "I was thinking drinking age, maybe. Yeah... you gotta have an excuse, right? That's mine and I'm sticking to it."

"But where did the 12th come from? November the 12th?" Leno asked.

Seemingly unaware of his second error, Perry repeated the question back to Leno. "The 12th?" he said, looking nervously to the audience. Then it clicked. "Oh, did I say November the 12th? Well, that'd be late, wouldn't it?"

Perry's original mistake was relatively inconsequential-- we've all gotten our dates mixed up, haven't we? -- but his obvious confusion on "The Tonight Show" probably did little to counter his absent-minded image.

But then again, it may not matter that much. In this year's carnivalesque Republican primary, it's all relative. Perhaps Leno put it best when he told Perry, "Thanks to Herman Cain, you're in the clear."



Late Night: Even Rick Perry is laughing at Rick Perry

Political campaigns a gold mine for late-night comedians

Rick Perry struggles to keep campaign afloat after the flub

— Meredith Blake

Photo: Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a campaign stop at Joey's Diner, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011, in Amherst, N.H. Credit: Jim Cole / Associated Press.