This won’t kill him. It also won’t help him. He won’t get to profit from the bleed-off of Cain’s support everybody sees coming. That will all go to Gingrich now, whereas some of it would have gone Perry’s way since most of Cain’s current support was once Perry’s.
It was the Department of Energy he was trying to fish out of his head. And that’s a little amazing, since energy is the lynchpin of Perry’s economic growth proposals – not that he planned on using DOE to promote domestic energy, since Perry has rightly noted that the Department of Energy was created by the Carter administration to do that and it’s done zero to advance that end.
That he couldn’t remember this indicates Perry is never going to be an acceptable debater. Is that fatal? Well, it’s kind of hard to tell people you’re more electable than Newt when he shines like gold in these things and you stink on ice.
He’s just not good in the debates. Not good at all.
UPDATE: Perry in the spin room after the debate…
This is a really bad night, though. He now has fundraisers saying it’s time to go home.