Rick Perry and the Spanish Inquisition

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Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks to workers at Epoch Homes Aug. 18, 2011 in Pembroke, N.H. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks to workers at Epoch Homes Aug. 18, 2011 in Pembroke, N.H. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

You have to give Governor Rick Perry credit. He is single handedly making the GOP Presidential debates very entertaining to watch.

His latest flub has turned into more entertainment than his usual debate performances.

It reminded me of one of my favorite Monty Python skits involving the fact that, “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!” For the non-Python fans out there, essentially the entire skit is about how the main villains representing the Spanish Inquisition, routinely forget the exact number of their chief weapons.

Let’s just say that Rick Perry would have made an excellent addition to the Python troupe.

If you missed Perry’s big number flub, in the debate on Wednesday night, he was attempting to list the three government agencies that he would eliminate if elected. He quickly listed the first two and then drew a complete blank on the third, finally remembering it later in the debate.

Now, simply having a memory malfunction has happened to all of us and by itself is not a reason for Perry to lose any support. However, it’s not like Perry came into this debate with a long history of great performances. Frankly, he had enough debate flubs before this one to already have a series of funny impressions of him done by the Saturday Night Live cast.

The one thing that Perry has done right about his debate flub is to own the moment. He appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman on Thursday, presenting his own Top Ten excuses for what happened. His appearance, along with other ways he owned the moment in the media, turned the moment from an embarrassing flub into nearly a positive public relations experience.

The reason I say that it is nearly a positive experience is because even though he has owned it, the moment is still adding to a growing list that has come to define Perry. In fact, if he has a flawless debate performance in the future, that will be the bigger story than any actual policy he mentions.

For a Presidential candidate, that isn’t exactly inspiring leadership potential on display if you’re hoping to simply not screw up.

With so many GOP Presidential Candidate debates already in the books, and even a few more to come, the surprises in how these candidates do under fire are gone. The remaining test comes on the campaign trail and in the fundraising column.

Frankly, if he can limp out of the debates without completely imploding, I have to imagine Perry is looking very forward to finally getting on the trail and seeing if he can connect with voters in a different way than making them cringe or laugh during a debate.

However, maybe I’m taking too much of a negative outlook on Perry. He’s still a very formidable candidate and politician.

In fact, his chief weapon is his honesty and his bravado. Well, I mean, his two chief weapons of surprise are his honesty, his bravado and his cunning. That is, his three chief weapons that will help him on the campaign trail are his honesty, bravado, his cunning and his humor.

I think you get my drift.

About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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