Rick Perry continued his I’m-just-human tour Thursday on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as he relived some recent gaffes on the campaign trail, including a recent flub of both the voting age (he said it was 21; it's 18) and date of the 2012 election during a New Hampshire campaign stop this week (he said it was Nov. 12; it's Nov. 6).
“I was thinking drinking age maybe,” Perry said, also noting that the voting age was 21 when he grew up.
As for asking a group of college-aged students for their support on “November 12,” Perry seemed to not even realize the error until Leno brought it up on the show.
“Oh, did I say November 12?” Perry asked. He said he was thinking of 2012.
The Texas governor has sought to portray himself as a normal guy who has mental lapses from time to time. “It happens, man,” he told Leno. “Every now and then I call my dogs by the wrong name. I get that wrong, too.”
His campaign went so far as to highlight his most infamous gaffe – when he couldn’t name a third federal department he would eliminate during a debate – in an ad that ran before and after his Leno appearance on NBC affiliates in Iowa.
The ad opened with a video of the flub, followed by Perry himself. “You know, we’ve all lost our train of thought before, but not many have done it on national TV. Now, if you want a slick debater, I’m obviously not your guy,” he says.
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 ad closes.
Perry repeated his calls for fellow candidate Herman Cain to address the allegations of sexual harassment and impropriety that have been made against him. “If there's truth there, then, you know, he's got to have a long conversation with his family and with his supporters. And if there's nothing there, he needs to stand up and clearly go on about his business.”
Perry suggested there will be no surprises about his life when Leno asked if he had himself investigated in advance of the election.
“I've been elected three times to governor of the state of Texas. I can promise you, I have been investigated inside, outside, back and forth,” Perry said, calling his life an “open book” because of his many years in government. In his opinion, he said, people’s personal lives matter.
“People hate hypocrites,” he said.