Five key awards in the GOP 'Oops' debate

Rick Perry had the most memorably painful moment in Wednesday night's GOP presidential debate. Here are four other key moments.

Clearly, Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate will be remembered for one thing and one thing only: Rick Perry’s terrible, horrible, cringe-inducing moment of amnesia.

With that in mind, DCDecoder has some "awards" to hand out…

Most unbelievably painful moment: Hands down, Rick Perry’s failure to remember the third agency he would supposedly eliminate as president. Perry listed Education, Commerce, and then … he drew a blank. Mitt Romney helpfully suggested: EPA? Moderator John Harwood asked - seriously, EPA? Perry said no. Harwood asked again if he could name the third agency he would eliminate. Perry hemmed and hawed and finally just had to give up, with a sad “I can’t. Oops.” (Many questions later, he came up with it: The Department of Energy!) It was an unspeakably awful moment that will be replayed again and again and again.

Most ill-considered nickname: “Princess Nancy,” as Herman Cain (who has been fighting allegations of sexual harassment) called Nancy Pelosi (the first woman Speaker of the House in US history). In another weird use of a mockingly authoritarian nickname, Michele Bachmann at one point called Obama advisor David Axelrod “General Axelrod” (which, we confess, we don’t even get).

Most condescending exchange with a moderator: Newt Gingrich, insisting that the media has done a poor job reporting on the economy - and then, when moderator (and economic reporter) Maria Bartiromo pressed him for an example of said bad reporting, only coming up with the fact that reporters have failed to ask the Occupy Wall Streeters who they think is paying for the park they’re camping out in. Weak.

Most dogged pursuit of a frontrunner who has so far been pretty much coasting: Moderator John Harwood asking Mitt Romney tough questions tonight about flip-flopping on issues like the auto industry bailout, and about his previous debate comment that he was “running for office for pete’s sake,” implying he was largely driven by political calculation. Harwood also asked Romney about previous moderate policy actions like collaborating with Ted Kennedy on healthcare reform. And he tried to draw Romney in on the Herman Cain sexual harassment flap, asking if he would have kept Cain on as CEO in the wake of those allegations (Romney didn’t bite).

Most anticlimactic moment: Herman Cain getting questioned on the sexual harassment allegations. The audience booed when the subject came up. Cain once again called the charges unfounded, and said that for every woman making allegations (by our count, there have now been five) there are “thousands” of others who would back him as a man of character. The other candidates wouldn’t touch the issue. The moderators moved on pretty quickly.

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