Rick Perry ad: Self-mockery, Iowans, and what was the 3rd thing?

Now even Rick Perry’s making fun of Rick Perry.

It’s come to that.

Perry is scheduled to be on the "Tonight Show" with Jay Leno Thursday evening, but Iowa viewers watching will also see an ad in which the Texas governor pokes fun at his, uh, you know, inability to remember stuff.

In the ad, Perry talks about the his notorious “brain freeze” last month, when, during a debate, he forgot the name of a third Cabinet agency he would eliminate as president. Then, flustered, he soon forgot the second one.

“You know, we've all lost our train of thought before, but not many have done it on national TV. If you want a slick debater, I'm obviously not your guy,"  Perry says in the spot, which will air only this evening in Iowa. "But if you want to clean house in Washington with a balanced budget amendment, a flat tax and a part-time Congress, I'm your man."

He concludes the brief ad with some shtick: “I’m Rick Perry and (pause) what’s that line again?” he says.

The ad appears intended to do two things: take the sting out of whatever jokes Leno has lined up; and show Iowa voters that Perry’s a regular, good-natured guy who can laugh at himself.

"While the rest of GOP field is busy handling scandals, inconsistencies and contradictions on important issues, Gov. Perry's appearance on Leno and his special Leno ad show he is confident enough to use the attention from last month's Michigan debate to highlight his status as the true outsider conservative in the Republican field," said Perry campaign communications director Ray Sullivan.

Perry tripped up again this week in New Hampshire, asserting the minimum voting age in America is 21, not 18. Fortunately for him, the gaffe was soon eclipsed by rival Michele Bachmann, who seemingly pledged to close the U.S. Embassy in Iran, which has already been shuttered for more than 30 years.

But Perry’s continuing struggle to find traction in the polls suggests that perhaps Republican voters just may want that slick debater after all. Or, even, you know, a sentence-finisher.

That may be one reason why this appears to be turning into the Winter of Newt. Would Gingrich ever cut an ad like this?


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