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Rick Perry Uses Late-Night Show to Make Light of His Gaffes

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(BURBANK, Calif.) -- In an attempt to reconstruct his image after committing one gaffe after another, Texas Gov. Rick Perry hit the late-night circuit Thursday night for the second time in recent weeks, trying to turn his recent blunders into comic relief instead of allowing the conversation to focus on the mistakes that could contribute to the derailment of his candidacy.

During an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Perry, wearing his cowboy boots and walking out to “Deep In The Heart of Texas,” spun his debate gaffe as a simple moment of forgetfulness.

“Well, you know, one, two, and then -- uh, uh.  It happens, man.  Let me tell you.  I said, ‘Listen, it happens,’” said Perry, referring to his inability during a debate to remember the third federal department he would eliminate as president.  “Every now and then I call my dogs by the wrong name.  I get that wrong, too.”

In the opening sketch of the comedy show, Perry and Leno turned the Texas governor’s “Oops” moment into a joke about the Kardashian sisters.  As Leno struggled to name one of the three sisters, Perry chimed in: “Khloe.  It’s just three names, Jay.  It’s not that hard to remember.”

Perry’s appearance on The Tonight Show revealed the candidate’s ability to make light of his mistakes while he faces criticism for his blunders.  The campaign further tried to capitalize off the moment by turning his debate gaffe into a television ad in Iowa, which aired before and after his appearance on Leno, highlighting his slip-up as a human moment.

“You know, we’ve all lost our train of thought before, but not many have done it on national TV.  If you want a slick debater, I’m obviously not your guy, but if you want to clean house in Washington with a balanced budget amendment, a flat tax and a part-time Congress, I’m your man,” Perry said in the 30-second ad.

“I’m Rick Perry, and what’s that line again?” he said as the ad drew to a close.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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