The latest Republican presidential debate, at Michigan’s Oakland University, was pretty much business as usual except for an embarrassing moment when Rick Perry couldn’t seem to remember which government departments he plans to close if he reaches the White House.
Perry said he would be closing three departments: Commerce, Education and… well, the third one eluded him. He remembered later: the Department of Energy. It was a humiliating moment on live TV for the candidate, and one from which he will do to recover. Perry has struggled in recent weeks, and this slip-up will do his poll ratings no good. But it’s not going to push him out of the race.
Herman Cain had a solid evening, avoiding getting mired in the controversies of recent days. He did, however, apologise for calling Nancy Pelosi ‘Princess Pelosi’, perhaps an unwise choice of phrase for a candidate seeking to deal with allegations about his attitude to women. The other candidates didn’t get much of a look-in, suggesting that the media has decided that this race is really coming down to Cain, Perry (perhaps) and Mitt Romney, whose campaign rumbled along almost unnoticed during the debate.