Presidential hopeful Rick Perry has proven himself so prone to gaffes that political blogs were abuzz about how he confused a mannequin for a person, even though it turns out to have been a joke on Perry’s part.
The incident, already dubbed “mannequingate” took place at a Squat N’ Gobble in Bluffton, South Carolina where Perry was talking to voters. It was originally reported by The Los Angeles Times’ Alana Semuels as such, “After Perry left, walking by a mannequin wearing a Squat N’ Gobble T-shirt whose hand was raised above her head – a hand Perry tried to call on during a question-and-answer period – a spirited discussion broke out in the restaurant, with some patrons waving Nobama ’12 bumper stickers.”
Slate and The Atlantic were among those who initially reported the incident as a gaffe, with Slate crediting Mike Memoli with the discovery. However, they both soon clarified that it appears to have been a joke, with Slate quoting NBC’s Carrie Dann’s tweet saying, “Perry gaffe meme so entrenched that most journos' benefit of doubt is out the window.”
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The author of the original LA Times piece, Semuels, weighed in with an email to New York Magazine, stating:
I think he thought it was a person out of the corner of his eye. He turned to it, having just opened the q and a period, since it had its hand straight up in the air, and no one else did. He immediately realized it was a mannequin, and made fun of himself by saying 'I thought this lady had her hand up over here,' gesturing to the mannequin, To be fair, I thought it was a person too at first.
Waitresses from the restaurant, called by New York Magazine and Mediaite for confirmation, said Perry did it as a joke.
The Atlantic Wire reported, however, that Perry’s day wasn’t gaffe-free as he once again forgot the exact three government departments he would like to cut, replacing the Department of Education with the Department of Interior.
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