It is already being called the most devastating 53 seconds in the history of modern United States primary debates, the ABC reports.
After a series of weak performances, Texas governor and Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry may have sounded his own political death knell by freezing up on stage while trying to name the three federal agencies he would abolish if he were elected president.
During a debate in Michigan he named the departments of commerce and education as targets for elimination if he won the White House, but could not come up with the third, the Energy Department.
"The third one, I can't, I'm sorry, I can't. Oops," he concluded.
He later tried to laugh it off but the headlines of both the New York Times and the Washington Post read simply "Oops".
On television talk shows later, Mr Perry smiled and gritted his teeth through endless playbacks of the moment commentators say he turned his campaign into a smoking presidential train wreck.
He says he will press on, adding that his memory lapse just goes to show there are too many federal agencies.