Perry gives top 10 excuses for gaffe

Rick Perry delivered the "Top Ten" list on David Letterman's show Thursday night, making light of his debate gaffe the night before. 

In making light of his misstep in the debate, Perry joked about everything from Herman Cain’s sexual harassment charges and Mitt Romney’s looks to pop artist Justin Bieber’s paternity suit.

During the debate, Perry forgot the third government agency he has said he would eliminate, and fumbled around for nearly a full minute. On "The Late Show," Perry gave his top 10 excuses. 

“You try concentrating with Mitt Romney smiling at you — that is one handsome dude,” Perry gave for the sixth excuse on the list.

Excuse No. 2 was that “I wanted to help take the heat off my buddy Herman Cain.”

Cain is facing allegations that he sexually harassed female employees while he was president of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.

And for the finale, Perry referenced a report that teen idol Justin Bieber fathered a child with a female fan while he was underage.

“I just found out that Justin Bieber is my father,” Perry said.

The late-night comedy shows have been a surprise refuge for candidates looking to deflect negative media attention. Last week Herman Cain went on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" after reports surfaced of the sexual harassment allegations.

Perry’s strategy has been to emphasize the human element of the misstep, and to laugh along with the mortifying moment.

He appeared on three morning news shows Thursday, where he smiled broadly and chuckled as news anchors replayed the clip for him. 

The Perry campaign has continuously had to defend the candidate’s public speaking appearances, at one point denying Perry was drunk during a stump speech in New Hampshire. Spokesmen for the campaign have blamed fatigue for the string of poor debate performances leading up to Wednesday night, and Letterman riffed on this before Perry got into the top 10.

“How do you feel, by the way — you feel all right, you well-rested, you ready to go?” he asked Perry.