Rick Perry has 53 second 'brain freeze' at debate

Thomas Lifson
Last night's presidential nomination debate in Rochester, MI was a disaster for Rick Perry, as he experienced a temporary memory loss while attempting to name the third of three federal agencies he would close if he were president. While on the one hand, he has warned the public that debating is not his forte, on the other, he reinforced the impression, already strong among certain segments of the voting public, that he is simply not very bright.

Having experienced what is commonly known as brain freeze myself, I have more than a little sympathy for Gov. Perry. We all forget names or items on a list from time to time. But Americans searching for strong presidential leadership are not comforted by a candidate who doesn't seem to know what his own radical reform plan consists of.

And, to be honest, there is a widespread bigotry in much of the country against people who speak with a Texan accent. Just as many Americans assume someone speaking with a British accent sounds intelligent, many also assume that someone speaking with a drawl is mentally slow.  (In my business career, I discovered that canny Southerners sometimes played to this prejudice, allowing their bargaining counterparts to assume falsely that they were not up to speed, only to learn otherwise later on, to their extreme disadvantage. However, this strategy does not work well when running for office in a nation that is 3/4 non-Southern, and in which regional prejudice remains strong.)

Here is a clip of the incident, clocked at 53 seconds.

Unfair as it may be, I suspect this incident will seriously damage Gov. Perry's fundraising ability and therefore his campaign, which is premised on ample funding.

I like Rick Perry, but I cringed. For 50 some seconds. When Americans vote for president, cringe is the last thing they want to associate with their choice.

In contrast to Governor Perry, Newt Gingrich turned in another impressive performance, and Herman Cain comported himself with dignity. Maria Bartiromo of CNBC occasioned boos from the audience when she attempted to press Herman Cain on issues of character. She may have had almost as bad a night of it as Rick Perry.

Last night's presidential nomination debate in Rochester, MI was a disaster for Rick Perry, as he experienced a temporary memory loss while attempting to name the third of three federal agencies he would close if he were president. While on the one hand, he has warned the public that debating is not his forte, on the other, he reinforced the impression, already strong among certain segments of the voting public, that he is simply not very bright.

Having experienced what is commonly known as brain freeze myself, I have more than a little sympathy for Gov. Perry. We all forget names or items on a list from time to time. But Americans searching for strong presidential leadership are not comforted by a candidate who doesn't seem to know what his own radical reform plan consists of.

And, to be honest, there is a widespread bigotry in much of the country against people who speak with a Texan accent. Just as many Americans assume someone speaking with a British accent sounds intelligent, many also assume that someone speaking with a drawl is mentally slow.  (In my business career, I discovered that canny Southerners sometimes played to this prejudice, allowing their bargaining counterparts to assume falsely that they were not up to speed, only to learn otherwise later on, to their extreme disadvantage. However, this strategy does not work well when running for office in a nation that is 3/4 non-Southern, and in which regional prejudice remains strong.)

Here is a clip of the incident, clocked at 53 seconds.

Unfair as it may be, I suspect this incident will seriously damage Gov. Perry's fundraising ability and therefore his campaign, which is premised on ample funding.

I like Rick Perry, but I cringed. For 50 some seconds. When Americans vote for president, cringe is the last thing they want to associate with their choice.

In contrast to Governor Perry, Newt Gingrich turned in another impressive performance, and Herman Cain comported himself with dignity. Maria Bartiromo of CNBC occasioned boos from the audience when she attempted to press Herman Cain on issues of character. She may have had almost as bad a night of it as Rick Perry.