MANCHESTER, N.H. — Rick Perry took his own stab at comedy before an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno scheduled for this evening. The Texas governor plans to bookend his appearance with a television ad that makes fun of his now-infamous memory lapse during a candidate debate in Michigan in early October.
“You know, we’ve all lost our train of thought before, but not many have done it on national TV,” Perry says in the ad after a brief video clip of the gaffe. “Now, if you want a slick debater, I’m obviously not your guy. But if you want a clean house in Washington, with a balanced budget amendment, a flat tax, and a part-time Congress, I’m your man.”
He closes with another joke, pretending to forget the required ad sign-off line: “I’m Rick Perry and – what’s that line again? – I’m Rick Perry, and I approve of this message.”
The Perry campaign’s strategy in recovering from the “oops” moment has been to make light of it. He’s joked about it on the campaign trail and with moderators during debates. But it doesn’t seem to have helped his low standing in most polls, where he is in single digits.
On the same day that his chief rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, launched a new ad in Iowa, Perry also began airing a new 30-second spot in that key caucus state that casts him as a Washington “outsider” and blames President Obama for U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
“It’s almost 2012. And we’re still addicted to foreign oil,” Perry says in the ad. “President Obama and Washington? All talk. No action. I’m an outsider, so I’ll step on a few toes if necessary to reopen our oil and gas fields.”
He pledges to create 1 million new jobs by removing regulations and increasing drilling. “It’s high time we kick our foreign oil habit,” Perry says.
Perry’s energy plan relies heavily on expanding drilling in Alaska and other coastal areas, tapping the Marcellus Shale natural gas reserve in Appalachia, and approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, the proposed 1,700-mile pipeline from Canada to refineries in Texas.