Their were two most memorable moments from the CNBC debate [full video] at Oakland University in Rochester Micghan on Wednesday night. The first came when Herman Cain was asked by the moderator Maria Bartiromo questioned Cain's "leadership...character and  judgment" in regard to the charges of sexual harassment leveled against him.
Video shows the crowd booing the question and cheering as he said "The American people deserve better than someone being tried in the court of public opinion based on unfounded accusations."
The other big moment at the debate was the unfortunate and highly embarrassing "brain freeze" when attempting to list the three agencies he would close [video]:
While answering a question about the federal tax code, Perry announced that he would eliminate three agencies.It was painful to watch and especially so after Perry's previous bad debate performances. While we all have experienced similar episodes in our own lives, it's safe to say that none of us have done it in as public a manner.
"It's three agencies of government when I get there that are gone. Commerce, education and ..." Perry said before an exceedingly long, awkward pause.
Finally a rival tried to come to the rescue. "The EPA?" former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney chimed in.
"There you go," Perry said before admitting that that was not the one he had intended. Moderator John Harwood interjected, saying, "Seriously?"
"No sir," Perry replied.
"But you can't name the third one," Harwood persisted. Perry then tried again.
"Education, commerce and the third ... " After another incredibly long pause he gave up. "I can't," Perry said. "Oops."
The whole incident at the Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., lasted an agonizing 52 seconds.
Perry finally corrected his mistake several minutes later when it came time for him to answer another question.
"By the way, that was the Department of Energy I was reaching for there," he said, before going on to answer the next question.
Gingrich as the newest anti-Romney?
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had another solid debate performance last night. While he's watched other rivals rocket to the top only to fall back, he's continued with his slow and steady progress which is being reflected in the latest polls (Real Clear Politics chart).
For those looking for an alternative to Romney, who never gets above 25% in the RCP polling average, Newt Gingrich may be the next flavor of the month. Newt's campaign may be compared to the tortoise who wins the race against the hare by patient, slow work. Dorothy Rabinowitz, writing at the Wall Street Journal describes how Gingrich continues to captivate GOP audiences. The question as to whether primary voters are willing to forgive the baggage in Newt's past, or to nominate another old white male has yet to be answered.
54 days and counting until the Iowa Caucus. Stay tuned!