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RICK PERRY: I regret saying we should eliminate the Department of Energy

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry at Trump Tower. (Photo: Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for energy secretary, said he regrets making statements about abolishing the Department of Energy in 2011.

“I have a couple of other issues I’d like to touch upon,” Perry said toward the end of his opening remarks before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

He continued: “I have learned a great deal about the important work being done every day by the outstanding men and women of the Department of Energy. I have spoken several times to Secretary Moniz about the operation. I have spoken to his predecessors. And if confirmed, my desire is to lead this agency in a thoughtful manner surrounding myself with the expertise on the core function of the department. My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking. In fact, after being briefed on some of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.”

In 2011, during a Republican primary debate hosted by CNBC, Perry made his infamous “oops” moment while attempting to name the agencies of government he wanted to abolish.

“It’s three agencies of the government that when I get there that are gone,” Perry said. “Commerce, Education, and the uh, um, what’s the third one there? Let’s see.”

Perry couldn’t recall the third one and awkwardly quipped, “Oops.”

The “third one” was the Department of Energy, the same department president-elect Donald J. Trump has tapped him to lead.

Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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