It was a night to forget -- literally. But Rick Perry did his best Thursday to try to pick up the pieces after a debate flop for the ages, saying in a battery of morning show interviews that he will press forward with his presidential campaign.
But notably, he would not commit to any further televised debates beyond one scheduled for this weekend in South Carolina.
The Texas governor admitted he "stepped in it" in Wednesday night's Michigan debate, stammering as he tried to remember the third of three federal agencies he would do away with as president. But he was never going to be "the best debater or the smoothest politician," he said.
"The perfect candidate has never been created yet," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "There's going to be people that make mistakes and I'll make my share of them."
In total, Perry taped five interviews that aired near the top of every major network and cable morning show, trying to contain the damage done to his campaign, aware of the fact that many are declaring his candidacy finished.
"Any time you're standing up in front of how many million people we were and you have a loss of a train of thought, sure it impacts you. But the fact is, one error is not going to make or break a campaign," he said on CBS' "The Early Show."
NBC's "Today" show replayed the moment for Perry as he watched, smiling. He tried to make it part of his campaign message.
"I kind of think I'm like most of Americans in that there are so many agencies of government out there that we'd like to forget," he said.
In fact, there's now a contest on his campaign website -- supporters can vote for which federal agency they would shutter.
Appearing on the friendly confines of the chat show "Fox & Friends," and wearing an unshakable grin, Perry said there were no campaign changes afoot.
After a series of dismal polls flashed on the screen -- showing the Texas governor mired deep in single digits -- Perry was asked how he hoped to recapture the star power that marked his August debut in the race as an instant front-runner.
"I think it's stay and talk about the issues that are important to the people of this country," Perry said. "Lay out a clear and a succinct vision for this country."
Asked whether he might avoid future debates, Perry demurred, saying he intended to show up Saturday for the next scheduled session in South Carolina. He refused to commit beyond that event.
"After that, we really don't have a schedule set," Perry said. Asked again whether he might miss some future dates, Perry responded, "I don't have any idea, I'm just saying I know what I'm doing through Saturday."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times