POLITICS
11/13/2011 12:11 pm ET | Updated Mar 15, 2012

Rick Perry Dubs Rick Santorum His 'Lifeline' Before Debate (VIDEO)

Joking around backstage before Saturday night's GOP presidential debate, Rick Perry told Rick Santorum, "Tonight, If I need a lifeline, I'm just going to look to you."

The comment came after Perry's huge gaffe earlier in the week, when he failed to remember the name of the third government agency he would cut if elected president.

Despite the blooper, Perry appeared in good humor Saturday night, sharing a laugh with other candidates at his expense.

"After that episode, the doc leaned over and he said, you know, that's happened to everybody," Perry said with a huge grin, gesturing to Ron Paul. "Most of us just haven't done it in front of 4 million people!"

Onstage later, the Texas governor poked fun at himself again. From The Huffington Post's Elise Foley:

"You advocate the elimination of the Department of Energy. If you eliminate the Department of Energy --" CBS News host and debate moderator Scott Pelley asked.

"Glad you remembered it," Perry interjected with a smile.

"I've had some time to think about it, sir," Pelley responded.

"Me too," Perry said.

Despite the candidate's attempts to make light of the blunder, GOP support for Perry has plummeted since Wednesday night's misstep. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found Perry fell from 8 percent to 4 percent of respondents' top choice.

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