Texas Gov. Rick Perry has had a rough time over the past few months, seeing his presidential polling numbers march steadily downward after his initial strong start in August. He recently made three remarkable gaffes on the campaign trail, first forgetting that the voting age is 18 (he thought it was 21), and then having trouble remembering the name of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (he thought it was Montemayor). His third gaffe?






Well, I don't actually remember the third gaffe. But it's a good one. Oops.*


Oh wait, it's coming back to me now. That's right, he referred to Solyndra, the now-bankrupt solar panel manufacturer that received $535 million in federal loan guarantees, as a country, not a corporation.


While on a campaign stop a couple of days ago, he criticized the Obama administration for the loan deal and told a crowd of people in Café Diem in Ames, Iowa:


"No greater example of it than this administration sending millions of dollars into the solar industry, and we lost that money. I want to say it was over $500 million that went to the country Solyndra."

We could solve the energy crisis right here and now if we could learn to harness Rick Perry's gaffes. The guy is a walking verbal bumble machine. Legend has it that just being in the same room with the guy will suck 10 points off your IQ. That actually would explain a lot about the current state of the Republican base.


Rick Perry thought there were eight Supreme Court justices (there are nine), that we were at war with Iran (we're not, currently), that Woodrow Wilson was president "a decade ago" (nope, that was GW; Wilson served from 1913 to 1921), and even gave a wonderfully bizarre speech in Manchester, N.H., after allegedly downing a few drinks (and maybe a painkiller or three?).


I'll cut the guy some slack for the Woodrow Wilson flub (it's pretty clear he meant to say "century" instead of "decade") and who hasn't given a big political speech after tying on a good buzz? But he gets no pass for screwing up the facts around Solyndra. If he can't get the basic facts right about this somewhat complex issue which he's complaining about, he is in no position to complain. I understand that presidential candidates have packed schedules and don't have the time to really dig into every issue they have to talk about, but this is ridiculous.


Or in the world of the GOP presidential candidates, this is par for the course.


Internet funny points to @andishehnouraee for this tweet:

"Just booked our vacation: 10 days at the Montemayor Resort in sunny Solyndra"


To learn what the whole Solyndra thing is all about, check out MNN's Russell McLendon's piece about the failed company. Andrew Schenkel did a great round up of Perry's environmental record.



*- an easy joke, I know, but this is the first Rick Perry article I've written, so I get one free pass.


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Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

Rick Perry, human gaffe machine, calls solar manufacturer Solyndra a 'country'
The one-time GOP presidential front-runner can't seem to get out of the way of his own legendary missteps.