Call it either a sign of new confidence or of fierce competitiveness, but Rick Santorum mocked Rick Perry’s infamous “oops” debate flub here Saturday afternoon — and gave would be caucus-goers an insight into what goes on unseen on the debate stage.

Asked a question about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Santorum voiced irritation that unnamed other candidates would seek “big applause lines” by promising to get rid of “this agency, and that agency and..uh..uh…uh…what was the other one?”

The audience, crammed into a downtown coffee house, erupted in laughter. Santorum added that he liked Perry personally. He went on to tell another story about a later debate where Perry, he said, was standing next to him and said in response to a question that “President Obama had two options — no, three options…”

Santorum made a cringing expression, saying he thought to himself “Please don’t do it again” and said a silent prayer for Perry.

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