Analysis: Perry crashes on the big 2012 stage

(Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry crashed on the big stage on Wednesday and may never recover.

The Texas governor had already been on the ropes, trying to come back after a series of shaky debate performances that knocked him out of the front-runner position and into the second tier of candidates.

Then came his “Oops” moment at a CNBC-sponsored debate in Michigan. He stood on stage with his rivals and struggled badly to remember all three government agencies that he would eliminate if elected in November 2012.

“Oops,” he said after naming the departments of Education and Commerce as two of his targets but failing to name the third. His mental lapse lasted an embarrassingly long period and rival Ron Paul finally came to the rescue to try to remind Perry of his own talking points.

A little later in the debate Perry thought of the answer — the Department of Energy.