Environment

5 Bizarre Moments From Rick Perry's Confirmation Hearing

“I hope you are as much fun on that dais as you were on that couch," Perry said to Senator Al Franken.

Photo Credit: Screen Capture

As a 2012 presidential candidate, Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of Energy called to eliminate the department he may soon run. So, in his confirmation hearing for the job, Former Gov. Rick Perry was sure to mention he no longer felt this way. And that was just the beginning. Here are the five strangest moments from Perry's hearing:

1. Perry regretted wanting to abolish the Department of Energy

"My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking," the former Texas governor said in his opening statement. "In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination."

He also added that he is no longer a climate change denialist. 

"I believe the climate has changed," Perry said. "I believe some of it is naturally occurring, but some of it is caused by man-made activity."

2. Perry touted his record of "affecting the climate" in response to Sen. Bernie Sanders' warning of a climate crisis

"The majority of the scientists who study this issue feel that climate change is a global crisis...  which requires massive cuts in carbon and transformation of our energy system. How do you respond to that?" Sen. Sanders (I-VT) asked Perry. 

Perry called Sanders' question—which he rephrased several times—an "interesting exercise."

"Do I have a record of affecting the climate in the world and in this country and the answer is yes," Perry said. 

3. Perry and Sen. Al Franken find their "Saturday Night Live" soundbite

“I hope you are as much fun on that dais as you were on that couch," Perry told Sen. Franken (D-MN) when asked if he enjoyed his time in Franken's office. 

Franken paused, baffled. 

“May I rephrase that, sir?” Perry asked, laughing as the entire room erupted with him. 

"Please... Oh my lord," Franken said in response.

4. Perry resurrected his "oops" moment

Remember when Rick Perry vowed that he'd eliminate the Energy Department if he could only remember it? In discussing his plan on the all-of-the-above energy policy, Perry weirdly brought back his most notorious gaffe. 

"How can we pursue an all-of-the-above strategy if so much of the department's all-of-the-above capabilities are eliminated... Do you support these cuts [proposed by the Trump transition team]?" Sen. Mazie Hirono asked Perry. 

"Well, Senator, maybe they'll have the same experience I had and forget that they said that," Perry said in response. 

Hirono cracked up.

"We're counting on you to educate the incoming president!" she exclaimed. 

5. Perry makes a weird zebra analogy

In attempting to answer a question from Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) about moving America away from fossil fuels, Perry went off on a nearly three-minute-long rant.

"You can't change the stripes on the zebra, I mean, it's just the way I am," he concluded, despite changing his long-held belief on climate change and once calling to eliminate the Energy Department. But what's even more ironic about his comment is that zebras do change their stripes depending on their climate

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

Stay Ahead of the Rest
Sign Up for AlterNet's Daily Newsletter
+ sign up for additional lists
[x]
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Rights & Liberties
Education
Drugs
Economy
Environment
Labor
Food
World
Politics
Investigation
Personal Health
Water
Media