Herman Cain took a shot at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at the Republican debate on Thursday, referring to her as “Princess Nancy.”

Cain, who is facing allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior, was responding to a question about how he would replace the Obama administration’s healthcare law.

“The legislation has already been written – H.R. 3000,” Cain said. “In the previous Congress it was H.R. 3400, and what that does - it’s already been written. We didn’t hear about it in the previous Congress because Princess Nancy sent it to committee and it stayed there, it never came out.”

Not everyone thought the moment of levity was appropriate.

“Ay yi yi, former Speaker Pelosi called a princess in the debate?,” tweeted former Bush White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. “Not fair. We may disagree on policy, but she earned the Speaker title.”

H.R. 3000 is the Small Business Health Fairness Act that some conservatives have pushed as an alternative to the Democrats' healthcare law.

“H.R. 3000 allows the decisions to be with the doctors and the patients, not with the bureaucrats in Washington D.C. The legislation has already been written,” Cain added.

Update: After the debate, Cain was asked about the appropriateness of the "Princess Nancy" remark in light of the sexual harassment allegations that have plagued him for the last two weeks.

"That was a statement I probably should not have made, but I was trying to make a point," he said in an interview on CNBC.

Updated at 10:05 pm