Speaking to a crowd of eleven outside a South Carolina campaign headquarters, a noticeably bewildered Perry thanked his family, staff, and volunteers for their hard work over the past weeks, then humbly said, "It's been a long hard slog, and we've done great things, made great strides in my bid for...wha...wait, I'm sorry, what was I running for again? Ahh, man, this is embarrassing."
The notoriously forgetful governor was initially met with chuckles from his audience, as they assumed Perry was breaking the solemn atmosphere with a little self-depreciation. However Perry repeated in earnest, "No, really, what was I running for?! I’m not kidding."
The one time front-runner of the Republican field made a name for himself (many, actually, none of which were flattering) for appearing confused, tired, and incoherent during his first presidential nominee debate in September. Perry did not help himself in the crucial debates that followed, fumbling the dates (only by 200 years, though) of the Revolutionary War after a debate at Dartmouth College, and forgot in mid-speech which of the three federal agencies he would eliminate if elected president.
However, unlike during his disastrous debate performances, Perry’s audience on Thursday jumped quickly to help Perry, reminding him that he had been running for the office of President of the United States; seeking the Republican nomination that had so ominously eluded him in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.
Perry's absent-mindedness Thursday only helped enhance Perry's already large and mainly self-inflicted image of a man who cracks under pressure, allowing vital facts to escape him at critical moments.
Perry Endorses Gingrich for "Damn, hell if I know."
Governor Perry did not however leave the race without throwing his support behind one of the remaining Republican candidates. Perry supplemented his withdrawal announcement Thursday with calls for his supporters to switch their allegiance to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
"I've known Newt for...a period of time," said Perry Thursday, "He's a good man, a straight shooter, a constitutional conservative. That's why I am endorsing Newt and his candidacy for, uh, um...Damn, hell if I know!"
Reporters at the scene quickly re-informed Perry that Gingrich was running for the same office Perry had been just hours before, to which Perry responded, "What? (Newt) had been running against me? For what? That bastard!"
Perry's wife, Anita, leaned in to the governor, whispering to him that his endorsement of a fellow candidate was standard procedure for a withdrawing candidate. "Then why can't I endorse President Obama?" Perry was overheard whispering back, after which Perry's wife was seen slipping her hand behind Perry's back. Perry then let out a shriek of pain.
"I mean, uhh, yes, Newt Gingrich is the best candidate for the office of...the office he is seeking," said a grimacing Perry.
However the Texas governor did have one last surprise for his supporters as he concluded his withdrawing speech Thursday. "I'm not going to leave South Carolvania and just go home," said a proud looking Perry. "I've still got a lot of fight in me, and this battle to restore America has just begun! Let all you good folks here, on this day, be the first to know that I am officially announcing my candidacy for the presidency of the United States in 2012! Yeah!"