This debate is a blessing from Cain upon Gingrich. Whereas Cain has frontrunner status, Gingrich is in third place. He is steep in debt and unable to purchase the advertising he needs to be considered a top-tier candidate. The media still isn’t giving him much attention. He’s done well in the debates, but is restrained by the presence of seven other candidates on the stage. Gingrich needs to take away from Cain’s support, or he has no chance of winning. Now, he gets to take on Cain — and only Cain — in the forum that best suits Gingrich.

What does Cain have to gain? It is possible he could best Gingrich and take some of his support, but this is an unnecessary gamble. Cain could simply wait as the right-of-Romney vote coalesces around him and Gingrich’s campaign suffocates. Cain is in a strong position to become the sole alternative to Romney, and if he does he probably wins the nomination…

Cain now has two options. He can move forward with the debate and plan on criticizing Gingrich, such as by mentioning his support for the individual mandate. He’ll have to be extra careful not to make a gaffe worth reporting, as no broadcast networks currently plan to cover it. He can hope that not many people will see Gingrich at his best. Or, he can find an excuse to drop out. It’ll be obvious he realized he made a mistake, but if his supporters stuck with him through the last debate, they’ll stick with him through that decision.