By Jay Root, The Texas Tribune

BETTENDORF, Iowa (THE TEXAS TRIBUNE) – Rick Perry will famously remember the three federal agencies he wants to shut down in a key policy speech in Iowa on Tuesday, but the “oops” heard around the world is still a big hurdle here.

Perry delivers a speech in eastern Iowa tonight and then plans a major policy roll-out on government reform Tuesday morning. The initiative is described as sweeping and will include the proposal to shut down the U.S. Departments of Education, Commerce and, yes, a third one — Energy, aides say.

The Texas governor is banking big on Iowa, which begins the delegate-awarding process with its caucuses on Jan. 3. Unless Perry gets some momentum here to carry him through the next early states, including South Carolina, it’s hard to see a path to the nomination for him.

Perry was already tied for fifth place, at the time with Newt Gingrich, before his disastrous Nov. 9 debate. Perry did far better Saturday night during a debate on foreign policy in South Carolina, but a new privately conducted poll, reported on by Politico, shows a burst of upward momentum for Gingrich and nothing but stagnation for Perry.

“I think he still has a shot. It’s going to be difficult,” said Iowa University political scientist Tim Hagle. He said voters had already begun to doubt Perry’s readiness as a presidential candidate when he melted down on stage in Michigan and couldn’t remember all three of the federal departments he wanted to shutter.

But Hagle said Iowa, at this late stage, is far more fluid than it has been in decades, so voters are as up for grabs as they can be.

Perry is scheduled to speak Monday night at the Scott County GOP Ronald Reagan Dinner. Accompanied by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Perry will roll out his government reform policy here Tuesday morning. Perry will also talk about reforms for the U.S. Congress and the judicial branch, according to a Republican source with knowledge of the proposal.

“All three branches will be touched,” the Republican said. In the wake of revelations by CBS’s 60 Minutes about insider stock trading by members of Congress, Perry just cut a new ad calling for a law that criminalizes the activity.

The Texas governor has events scheduled in New Hampshire and New York this week before returning to Iowa on Saturday.