Rick Perry made his debate debut tonight, and it's clear the new frontrunner is happy to mix it up. He and Mitt Romney went after each other with gusto, notes AP, as evidenced by an early exchange: After Perry criticized Romney's record of creating jobs in Massachusetts, Romney zinged back by saying that Perry taking credit for job growth in Texas is like Al Gore taking credit for the Internet. “Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt,” Perry said. “As a matter of fact,” Romney retorted, “George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, Governor.” Later, Perry called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme," while Romney said, “Our nominee has got to be someone who isn’t committed to abolishing Social Security," notes Politico.
Some other tidbits:
- Michele Bachmann said she is the candidate most committed to repealing ObamaCare. "None of us should ever think that the repeal bill will just come to our desk."
- Jon Huntsman: "I hate to rain on the parade of the great Lone Star State governor, but as governor of Utah, we were the No. 1 job creator during my years in service." Later, on evolution and climate science: "In order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science."
- Ron Paul went after Perry numerous times, including once for writing a letter to Hillary Clinton praising her health care efforts in the 1990s.
- Rick Santorum, "citing Reagan's aggressive foreign policy, complains that some of the other Republicans on stage are isolationists," notes the Wall Street Journal's live blog. Like Paul and Bachmann, he also went after Perry, who complained at one point about feeling like a "pinata," for his attempt to mandate an HPV vaccine for girls.
- Newt Gingrich again preached against the media trying to encourage fights among candidates. He also said he wants to fire Ben Bernanke immediately.
- Herman Cain called for rewriting the tax code. "If 10% is good enough for God, 9% is good enough for the federal government."