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Watch post-brain freeze Rick Perry read the Top Ten List on Letterman

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Rick Perry dropped by The Late Show with David Letterman on Thursday, and it's already hard to believe that this guy was the GOP frontrunner like, five minutes ago. Perry was there to do his Top Ten List penance, the pre-emptive damage-control thing where you show you can laugh at yourself, especially after a forty-four-second debate brain fart that will live in infamy.

Watching Governor Perry read "The Top Ten Rick Perry Excuses," I'm struck by how natural a thespian he is. You can't picture Ron Paul, for example, looking that comfortable reading a self-denigrating list of excuses for a nationally-televised brain freeze. Perry, it seems, isn't that far off from morphing into a rapping Bulworth. I can see him doing a remake of "Gangsta's Paradise," playing the Coolio role, with Herman Cain providing background gospel vocals as L.V. At the very least, he could pull off a Vitalis commercial, or maybe a spot for a BBQ joint. ("Bring the whole family on down for Sirloin Saturday. Yee-haw!")

Perry told the AP this morning, during his troubleshooting campaign-within-a-campaign, that he "stepped on it," but wasn't dropping out of the race by any means. He said, "Oh, shoot, no. This ain't a day for quitting nothing." And though everyone knows forgetting a government agency and all that implies was his fork-sticking moment, you have to tip your ten-gallon to his persistence. If the criteria for earning the nomination were steering cattle and deer hunting, Governor Goodhair would be a shoo-in.

But, by now, most people know that Texas' greatly-touted job growth on Perry's watch wasn't all it was cracked up to be. For example, between 2007-2011 roughly forty percent of job growth could be attributed to illegal immigrants working low-wage jobs. Perry has been useful to the party though, by betraying a hint of his ornery streak in his debate interactions with Mittens, eliciting some passion from Romney, and making him seem nicer by comparison. Whose turn is it now, Gingrich's?