NEW YORK (AP) -- Presidential candidates once looked to debates for a chance to shine. Now they're starting to play it safe in hopes of avoiding the kind of televised stumble that could fatally undermine their chances.
That's a dreaded YouTube moment -- a flub that immediately goes viral online and can cripple a candidacy.
Ask Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose struggle to name the third of three federal agencies he would eliminate became the "oops" moment of the campaign so far.
Over the years debates have produced plenty of cringe-inducing moments. But the internet has intensified their impact, making normally risk-averse politicians even more careful.
The GOP candidates are set to meet for the 11th time for a debate carried by CNN on Tuesday night.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)