Rick Perry has released three TV ads in Iowa in the past 24 hours in an attempt to re-establish himself in the state that will hold the nation's first caucuses on Jan. 3.
The first pokes fun at his now-infamous CNBC debate gaffe, in which he tried to name three federal agencies that he would cut as president but could only remember two. The ad opens with a clip of the embarrassing moment -- Commerce, Education and the, uh, uh... -- and then cuts to Perry, who looks at the camera and says, Department of Energy.
You know, we've all lost our train of thought, but not many have done it on national TV, he says. If you want a slick debater, I'm obviously not your guy. But if you want a clean house in Washington, with a balanced budget amendment, flat tax and a part-time Congress, I'm your man. I'm Rick Perry, and -- what's that line again?
He turns to someone off camera, then turns back, grins, and says, I'm Rick Perry, and I approve of this message.
Perry has tried valiantly to move past his gaffe with the message that he will be the best president even if he's not the best debater. So far, his many attempts to poke fun at himself don't seem to have registered with voters: he has just 7.2 percent support in the RealClearPolitics.com national poll average, and his numbers have been steadily declining for the past two months.
The second ad focuses on oil independence, opening with clips of Jimmy Carter and President Obama saying the United States needs to end its dependence on foreign oil.
It's almost 2012, and we're still addicted to foreign oil, Perry says. President Obama and Washington: all talk, no action. I'm an outsider, so I'll step on a few toes if necessary to reopen our oil and gas fields. Let's eliminate excessive regulations. That'll create over a million jobs. I'm Rick Perry, and I approve this message because it's high time we kick our foreign oil habit.
The third ad -- which, unlike the other two, has not been posted online -- is aimed at evangelical voters, whose support has been very volatile in this campaign as they try to find an alternative candidate to Mitt Romney.
Some liberals say that faith is a sign of weakness. They're wrong, Perry says. We all need God's help. I'm not ashamed to talk about my faith.
Perry is hoping that highlighting his faith will endear him to Iowa's many evangelical voters, who traditionally play a large role in the caucuses.
In 2008, for instance, the evangelical vote propelled the socially conservative Mike Huckabee past Romney in Iowa. Although Huckabee did not end up winning the Republican nomination -- the eventual nominee, John McCain, finished fourth in Iowa -- winning the caucuses did give him a boost in other states, and Perry is clearly counting on the same.
Perry stands at 6.2 percent in Iowa right now, according to RealClearPolitics.com -- slightly lower than his national average. He is at 2.8 percent in New Hampshire, which will hold its primary a week after Iowa's caucuses, and at 6.3 percent in South Carolina.