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WATCH: Rick Perry's Comment About 'Fun' On Sen. Al Franken's Couch Gets A Laugh

Energy Secretary-designate, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is sworn-in on Capitol Hill earlier today, prior to testifying at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Carolyn Kaster
/
AP
Energy Secretary-designate, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is sworn-in on Capitol Hill earlier today, prior to testifying at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

If there was going to be a moment of levity during Donald Trump's Cabinet hearings, leave it to Rick Perry to provide it.

The former Texas governor is the president-elect's pick to be energy secretary, and he had a relatively smooth hearing with the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

But it was his humorous exchange with Sen. Al Franken that may be the most memorable of his testimony. The Minnesota Democrat began his questioning by thanking Perry for coming by to chat with him prior to his hearing.

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., laughs as he jokes with Energy Secretary-designate and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry during Perry's confirmation hearing to become energy secretary.
Carolyn Kaster / AP
/
AP
Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., laughs as he jokes with Energy Secretary-designate and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry during Perry's confirmation hearing to become energy secretary.

"Thank you so much for coming into my office. Did you enjoy meeting me?" the former Saturday Night Live comedian deadpanned.

"I hope you are as much fun on that dais as you were on your couch," Perry responded. It took a beat, but both Franken and Perry realized how that could be interpreted.

"May I rephrase that, sir?" Perry quipped, breaking down in laughter, as did the rest of the audience and senators in the usually serious hearing room. "Well, I think we've found our Saturday Night Live sound bite."

It's not the first time Perry has provided fodder for comics. His first presidential bid in 2012 saw its demise after he infamously forgot the name of the third federal department he would want to eliminate as president. It was the Energy Department — the one he is now nominated to run.

"I can't, the third," Perry finally conceded after stumbling for several seconds. "Oops."

SNL had fun with that infamous moment.

Perry made a second bid for president this cycle, but his campaign never got off the ground, and he dropped out before the primary voting even began. He did find something to do, though, before Trump offered him this current one — as a contestant on Dancing With The Stars. He wasn't successful in that either, but he did have a lot of fun doing it.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jessica Taylor is a political reporter with NPR based in Washington, DC, covering elections and breaking news out of the White House and Congress. Her reporting can be heard and seen on a variety of NPR platforms, from on air to online. For more than a decade, she has reported on and analyzed House and Senate elections and is a contributing author to the 2020 edition of The Almanac of American Politics and is a senior contributor to The Cook Political Report.
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