"It's three agencies of government when I get there that are gone: Commerce, Education, and the uh...what's the third one, there? Let's see."
The crowd groaned and giggled.
Finally, another of the candidates suggested the third agency was the Environmental Protection Agency. Perry agreed that he would eliminate the EPA too, then quickly said he wouldn't.
A CNBC moderator then asked if Perry couldn’t remember the three agencies he wanted to eliminate. Perry seemed to be searching his brain but then couldn’t come up with the answer.
"The third agency of government. I would do away with Education, with Commerce and let's see ... I can't," Perry said sheepishly. "The third one I can't. Oops."
Several minutes later, when Maria Bartiromo asked Perry another question, Perry began by addressing his goof.
"And by the way, that was the Department of Energy I was reaching for a while ago," Perry said.
Here's the video of Perry's initial fumble:
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)