Rick Perry

Former Gov. Rick Perry explained his turnaround on the Energy Department. During his 2012 presidential bid, Perry proposed eliminating the department. Or he would have during a debate had he remembered which departments he wanted to eliminate.

But since then, Perry had a change of heart, because, apparently, he found out what the Department of Energy did.

“My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking,” Perry said in a statement prior to his Senate confirmation hearing that began today (Jan. 19). “In fact, after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.”

So Perry, had he been elected president, was going to eliminate a department, even though he didn’t really know what it did.

When he accepted the nomination, Perry thought he’d become a cheerleader for the oil industry … and then he was briefed.

According to the Department of Energy website, “The mission of the Energy Department is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.”

Dr. Ernest Moniz, a nuclear physicist, is the current Secretary of Energy. His predecessor was physics Nobel laureate Steven Chu.