By Michael A. Memoli
1:21 PM PST, November 10, 2011
Can Rick Perry laugh his way back into contention? His campaign seems to think it can't hurt, adding a pair of comedy shows to his itinerary as part of a sudden media blitz aimed at minimizing the damage from his 53-second debate lapse.
On Thursday night, the Texas governor will read the Top 10 list on CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" (here's a prediction -- he'll fall one item short). Perry also told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham Thursday that he'll be on "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central.
The hard truth for Perry is that his bid for the Republican presidential nomination was in trouble even before about 9:15 p.m. on Wednesday night. After a brief stint as the front-runner upon entering the race in August, his support shifted to new favorite Herman Cain and even of late Newt Gingrich.
A new set of numbers from Quinnipiac University on Thursday in swing states, including early-voting Florida, showed him polling no better than 5% among Republicans.
His earlier weak debate performances were partly to blame for that erosion of support. The concern now in Austin is that this latest gaffe -- being described in the media as one of the worst in recent political memory -- proves a fatal blow.
In another television interview Thursday afternoon, Perry maintained that voters will sympathize with his momentary forgetfulness.
"People understand you make mistakes. Things don't come out of your mouth right," he told Megyn Kelly on Fox News Channel's "America Live." "But we talked about a lot of really important issues, like my tax plan."
In addition to his suddenly media-friendly schedule, Perry says he'll be right back on the campaign trail in South Carolina this week and later in Iowa.
Most other Republicans have publicly been kind to Perry thus far.
"I don't want to pronounce the end of his campaign at this point," South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R) told CBS this morning, while adding: "I just think we saw some other standouts."
In the Fox News Channel interview, Kelly asked Perrry how he'd answer voters who worry he won't be a candidate who can stand up to President Obama in the general election.
"You don't have to be the slickest debater. What you have to do is be able to call him out and point clearly to the options" to fix the economy, he said. "I'm that person. And I have not only the record for that, but I have the passion for it. And I think I can take it to President Obama on any given day."
On NBC this morning, Perry was asked if he'd have any advice for the writers at another comedy show, "Saturday Night Live," who already have lampooned his performance on the stump and likely will again this weekend.
"I'm bettin' they do," he said. "Listen, I hope they get the agencies right."
Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times