GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Saturday had only one word to describe the 2008 election of President Obama.
Speaking at the North Carolina Republican Convention here, the former presidential candidate turned comedian in referencing his debate flub when he could not recall the three government agencies he wanted to eliminate. It became known as Perry's "oops moment" and effectively ended his campaign. But the one-time front runner in the GOP presidential primary said the country suffered the same kind of moment a few years earlier.
"Three and a half years, nearly 100 rounds of golf. Barack Obama has exploded the debt in this country. He has passed a stimulus program that grew government and not the economy. He socialized health care and he armed Mexican drug cartels. Admit it, America, 2008 was our national 'oops' moment," Perry said.
He spoke for less than 10 minutes at the convention, where Tim Pawlenty and Donald Trump also took the stage. And though the speech was short, Perry did not hesitate to spend it making light of his failed run.
"People ask me, what was it like to run for the presidency of the United States? And I tell them, I say, 'Let me tell you, I was the frontrunner for a while and it was the the three most exhilarating hours of my life,'" he joked.
Republicans will continue to be drawn to North Carolina because of its importance as a swing state in November. Each of the three speakers at the convention this weekend talked about how essential it was for Republicans to win the state.
"Whether you are Tar Heel blue or Blue Devil blue, we all agree that this next election, we need North Carolina to be Wolf Pack red," said Perry. "Let’s get it right, let’s win this election. Let’s go do everything that we have to do to deliver North Carolina for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party."
Though he enthusiastically expressed his support for Romney, how much of a role Perry will play for the nominee seems unclear. The governor of the Lone Star State seemed unaware that Romney would be campaigning there next week when asked if he will be making an appearance with his former rival.
"I got lots of great people helping Mitt out ... I'll be campaigning with him lots of places," said Perry.