Science committee Dems blast Perry for saying he would eliminate DOE

In an attempt to prove their small-government bona fides, some GOP candidates have hammered government agencies that they say are superfluous or interfere with job creation. But Kopshever argued that the DOE is actually a driver of economic growth.

“The future of the U.S. economy will be dictated by our appetite for pushing the frontiers in all fields of science and technology,” she said. “The innovative programs at the Department of Energy, with their unmatched talent, world-class facilities, and unique role in taking on technology challenges that the private sector cannot do alone, are some of our most effective tools in ensuring our long-term economic growth.”

Kopshever also said that the DOE “sponsors more basic and applied research than any other U.S. federal agency,” which she says “strengthens U.S. scientific and economic leadership.”

“Eliminating these programs would do lasting harm to our ability to meet our energy objectives and compete in the global marketplace,” she added.

At the debate on Wednesday night, Perry said that if he were elected president he would eliminate the departments of Commerce and Education, before struggling for almost a full minute trying to recall the third department he would eliminate.

About 10 minutes later, Perry finally remembered and offered his response.

"And by the way, that was the Department of Energy I was reaching for a while ago," he said.