In two hours of debate, no presidential hopeful gave a serious answer on the biggest threat to the global recovery right now
It's both fitting and unfortunate that Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate will be remembered for Rick Perry spacing on the name of the third federal agency he'd eliminate as president.
Unfortunate, because Perry's mother-of-all-awkward-moments totally overshadowed the rest of the debate, including the candidates' answers on how they'd deal with the volcanic economic crisis erupting from Europe.
Fitting, because the entire field spaced on the Europe answer, too.
Europe's problems should absolutely terrify anyone who cares about the American economy; its sovereign debts could infect banks around the world, potentially triggering a new wave of financial crisis, and a European recession would drag on already slow U.S. growth.
But the candidates who assembled at the CNBC debate in Detroit treated those threats as a far-away nuisance, like famine in Africa or an earthquake in Mongolia: very serious, very sad, not our problem.
Asked about Italy and its debt meltdown in the first question of the night, Herman Cain, the co-frontrunner for the GOP nomination in most polls, declared America must "focus on the domestic economy, or we will fail." He added: "There's not a lot that the United States can directly do for Italy right now, because they are really way beyond the point of return that we as the United States can save them."