Here’s the moment the pundits are talking about today, when Rick Perry awkwardly grasped for the identity of the third public agency he would abolish as president.
Perry has been a pretty terrible debater (in September he tried to call Mitt Romney a flip-flopper, but in a rambling, disjointed response that almost — but not quite — reached levels of awkwardness similar to last night), but this was clearly his worst moment of the election so far. At least one veteran journalists said it’s the worst debate moment he’s ever seen, and many political observers say this is the beginning of the end of the Perry campaign (“Perry campaign is over. Time for him to go home and refocus on being governor of Texas,” one fundraiser told the Washington Post).
Bachmann, meanwhile, had a characteristically steady debate. Here’s how the Iowa Republican classified it:
It’s basically the same story as most of the previous debates. Bachmann did fine. She offered detailed, substantive answers. However, she was lost in the shuffle. Nothing she said really stood out, so she did not move the needle with this performance. Bachmann was basically an afterthought.
Devin Henry can be reached at email@example.com