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Rick Perry: God Forgives 'Oops Moments'

By WILL WEISSERT 05/02/12 10:25 AM ET AP

Rick Perry God Oops

AUSTIN, Texas — God forgives people for their "oops moments" even if the American electorate does not, failed Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said Wednesday at a breakfast to celebrate the National Day of Prayer.

The Texas governor famously muttered "oops" during a presidential debate when he couldn't remember the third federal department he'd promised to eliminate if elected. It has become one of the campaign's signature moments.

"Every one of us has `oops moments' every day" Perry told hundreds of faithful packed into an Austin hotel ballroom.

"America may not forgive you for it," Perry said, drawing laughter and applause. "But God will."

Perry is an evangelical Christian and often attends prayer gatherings. A week before officially beginning his run for president in August, he hosted a national day of prayer that drew 30,000 to a Houston arena.

Perry has kept a relatively low profile since dropping out of the presidential race two days before the South Carolina primary in January. But he is in his element at religious events and it showed Wednesday, with the relaxed and self-effacing governor playing to a sympathetic crowd that frequently interrupted him with cries of "Amen!"

His speech kicked off state celebrations of the National Day of Prayer a day early. The annual event, held on the first Thursday of May, attracts people of all faiths who pray for the country. It was created in 1952 by a resolution in Congress, and signed into law by President Harry Truman.

Perry also presented a proclamation formally recognizing May 3 as Texas Day of Prayer. Organizers of the breakfast promised mass prayer events statewide on Thursday.

"You've been given free will but it's God's will that we seek every day in our private lives, in our public lives and as a nation," Perry said. "National Day of Prayer is our way of saying that we require God in every facet of our lives, not just in our public lives and certainly not in just our private lives."

He also urged the gathering to pray for President Barack Obama, drawing another burst of "Amens!"

"Let's pray for our president, for his wisdom," Perry said. "I pray that God pierces his heart."

Perry is the country's longest-serving sitting governor and has held his post longer than anyone in Texas history, taking office when George W. Bush left for the White House in 2000. He has not ruled out seeking a fourth full term in 2014, and has even fueled speculation he may try again for the presidency.

Perry, who opposes abortion, said he hoped Obama "truly understand God's will to protect innocent life. I pray for his true understanding of God's will for this country."

Texas is embroiled in a legal battle over a state law preventing a health organization affiliated with abortion providers from receiving state funds. On Tuesday, a federal judge said he wanted to hear arguments on whether the state should be prevented from enforcing a law that bans Planned Parenthood from participating in the program – less than 24 hours after another judge ordered Texas not to enforce the rule.

The law passed last year by the Republican-controlled Legislature forbids state agencies from providing funds to an organization affiliated with abortion providers. Eight Planned Parenthood clinics that do not provide abortions sued the state, saying the law unconstitutionally restricts their freedom of speech and association.

Also on HuffPost:

More of Perry's memorable fumbles:
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  • "Oops"

    At the CNBC debate on November 9, Perry <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/10/rick-perry-oops-video_n_1085336.html" target="_hplink">famously forgot</a> one of the government agencies he would eliminate if elected: <blockquote>"It's three government agencies when I get there that are gone: Commerce, Education and the um, what's the third one there. Let's see," Perry said. He turned to Texas Rep. Ron Paul, looking for some help, but got nothing but a remark from Paul that he would eliminate five agencies. "Oh five," Perry said. "So Commerce, Education, and, uh, the uh, um, um." "EPA?" offered former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. "EPA, there ya go," Perry said as the room exploded in laughter. CNBC moderator John Harwood honed in and pressed Perry: "Seriously? Is EPA the one you were talking about?" "No sir. No sir. We were talking about the, um, agencies of government," Perry said. "The EPA needs to be rebuilt." "But you can't name the third one?" Harwood persisted. "The third agency of government," Perry said. "I would do away with the education, the um, Commerce, and let's see. I can't think of the third one. I can't. Sorry. Oops."</blockquote>

  • Voting Age Flub

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/29/rick-perry-gets-voting-ag_n_1119126.html" target="_hplink">During a campaign stop</a> at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, Perry got both the voting age and the date of the 2012 presidential election wrong. "Those of you that will be 21 by November the 12th, I ask for your support and your vote," he said to the students. The legal voting age has been 18 since the 26th Amendment was adopted in 1971. The general election is scheduled for November 6, 2012.

  • New Hampshire... Caucus?

    During a November <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/30/rick-perry-new-hampshire-caucus_n_1120304.html" target="_hplink">interview </a>with Fox News, Perry mistakenly referred to the New Hampshire "caucuses." When asked about the emergence of front runners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, Perry responded, "Americans haven't decided yet at all who they want to lead the Republican nomination, and we're going to be talking about that and we're going to be talking about it in harsh and strong terms over the course of the next four to five weeks as we get ready for those New Hampshire caucuses." New Hampshire holds primaries, not caucuses.

  • Minimum Age To Run For President

    While speaking to Catcher Jones, a seven-year-old from Greenville, South Carolina in December, Perry flubbed the minimum age to run for president. "I'm glad you're not 21," Perry told Jones, who was wearing a t-shirt that said "Future President: Accepting Campaign Donations Now." Perry realized his mistake and added, "Or actually 35."

  • War With Iran

    After a woman in South Carolina asked Perry what he thought about current United States military operations, Perry mistakenly started talking about the wars in Afghanistan and Iran. When an audience member alerted Perry to his error, he joked that his comment "will be on the front page."

  • Revolutionary War

    Following a debate in New Hampshire, Perry met with fraternity brothers at Dartmouth College. When someone asked him about the issue of states' rights, Perry said that one of the "reasons we fought the revolution in the 16th century was to get away from that kind of onerous crown." The Revolutionary War occurred in the 18th century.

  • Decade Mix-Up

    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OMK7La2721Y" target="_hplink">In an interview</a> with CNN last year, Perry got stuck in a time warp. "Washington has abused the Constitution. You go back to the, a decade ago, with Woodrow Wilson..." Wilson was president from 1913 to 1921.

  • Bizarre Campaign Speech

    In October, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/29/video-rick-perrys-unusual-speech-performance_n_1065571.html" target="_hplink">an unusual performance</a> at a speech in Manchester led many to question the candidate's sobriety. Perry later made a statement to dispel rumors that he was drinking or using painkillers during the speech.

  • Bush Was Good At "Defending Us From Freedom"

    During an interview with the <em>Today Show</em> last November, Perry told host Meredith Viera that "Bush did an incredible job, in the presidency, defending us from freedom."

  • "Montomayor"

    While speaking with the editorial board of the <em>Des Moines Register</em>, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/09/rick-perry-gaffe-sonia-sotomayor_n_1139541.html?1323463939" target="_hplink">Perry struggled</a> to remember Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's name: <blockquote>"Do you really think he [President Barack Obama] is waging a war on religion?" asked an editorial board member, referring to Perry's recent ad pledging to "end Obama's war on religion" and "fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage" as president. "I do because when you see his appointment of two -- from my perspective, inarguably -- activist judges, whether it was," he said, then trailing off for about six seconds trying to recall her name. "Montomayor," he said. Someone on the editorial board said Sotomayor's name. "Sotomayor and [Elena] Kagan, who are both activist judges," he continued.</blockquote>


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