Rick Perry: Being GOP front-runner 'the most exhilarating three hours of my life'

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) joked Thursday that being the GOP presidential front-runner was "the most exhilarating three hours of my life."

His remarks at Texas's state Republican convention were a self-deprecating tweak of his quick rise in the polls — and his nearly as rapid plummet.

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Perry also alluded to his biggest campaign blunder — forgetting the name of a government department he wanted to close during a GOP debate — to attack President Obama. After fumbling to jog his memory, Perry said, "Oops." 

"Admit it, America — 2008 was our national 'oops' moment," he planned to say Thursday, according to prepared remarks.

Perry criticized Obama repeatedly in the speech and said he "proudly" planned to vote for Mitt Romney, who he endorsed in late April.

He also hinted at his future plans. Perry, already the longest-serving governor in Texas history, has not said yet whether he'll run for reelection in 2014.

"Until we have passed taxpayer protections, until we have reformed our budget process to stop excess spending, until we have done all we can do to protect innocent life and traditional values, your work is not done and my work is not done," he said, talking about his legislative goals for the next two years. "For me, continuing to serve as your governor is the honor of a lifetime. I'm not riding off into the sunset. I'm mounting up for the next operation."

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