After stumbling out of the gate in Iowa and New Hampshire, Texas governor Rick Perry is expected to drop out of the running for the Republican presidential nomination, CNN reported Thursday.
The network, quoting two sources, reported the longest-serving governor of the Lone Star State will drop out of the race prior to Thursday’s CNN debate in South Carolina (where a primary is slated for Saturday).
While Perry has never lost an election, the politician seemed to get in his own way in his bid for the nomination, appearing unprepared at times, and polarizing at others.
In November’s GOP debates, when Perry was asked what three federal departments he would eliminate, he replied, “Commerce, Education and the — what’s the third one there? Let’s see …”
After stalling and stammering, he struggled to answer the question. His GOP colleagues suggested the Environmental Protection Agency, which the politician initially agreed with, but then backed off of, still unable to specify which agency he’d do away with.
“Seriously: You can’t name the third one?” moderator John Harwood said, stunned.
“The third agency of government I would do away with — the Education, the Commerce. And let’s see. I can’t. The third one, I can’t,” Perry said. “Oops.”
Another incident which drew Perry criticism — particularly within his own campaign and party — was an anti-gay ad in Iowa he released in December, comparing the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to prayer in school.
“I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a Christian — but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school,” he said.