Eight Fascinating Moments from GOP Debate

Michelle Bachmann threw her hat in the ring. Mitt Romney said he’d blow the debt ceiling. Herman Cain would be uncomfortable with a Muslim in his administration. WATCH VIDEO of eight of the most fascinating moments from the New Hampshire GOP debate.

06.14.11 4:26 PM ET

Bachmann Throws Her Hat in the Ring

‘Bout time: Tea Party darling Michelle Bachmann announced her 2012 candidacy during the debate, saying she filed her paperwork earlier in the day on Monday. Up until the debate, the Minnesota congresswoman had been in the exploratory stages of her candidacy, but it was the presidential debate, after all.

The New Obamacare: Obamneycare

Killing two birds with one stone: A day after coining the phrase “Obamneycare” to criticize Romney and President Obama’s health-care plans all at once, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty stumbled over his defense of the term when given the opportunity to confront the former. “Well, the issue that was raised in a question from a reporter was, what are the similarities between the two? And I just cited President Obama's own words that he looked to Massachusetts as a blueprint or a guide when he designed Obamacare,” he said.

The Debate’s Loser: Obama

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachmann might have emerged as the debate’s stars, but one loser was clear throughout the night. Despite a few spars with each other over the economy and religion, the GOP field united to go after the president. Watch Romney criticize Obama’s lack of leadership and say he’d blow the debt ceiling.

Cain ‘Uncomfortable’ with Muslim in Administration

Communists, Nazis—and Muslims, oh my? When CNN’s John King asked Herman Cain to clarify his comments over whether or not he’d hire a Muslim in his administration, the pizza magnate said he “would not be comfortable because you have peaceful Muslims and then you have militant Muslims, those that are trying to kill us. And so, when I said I wouldn't be comfortable, I was thinking about the ones that are trying to kill us.” Romney and Newt Gringrich also chimed in, with Gingrich further stirring the pot: “We did this in dealing with the Nazis and we did this in dealing with the communists…We have got to have the guts to stand up and say no,” he said.

Candidates: Block Same-Sex Marriage

New Hampshire may be one of the five states where same-sex couples can legally marry, but the candidates aren’t about to extend those rights any time soon. While Bachmann said she believes marriage should only be between a man and a woman, but wouldn’t “interfere” in a state decision, Romney, Pawlenty, Santorum, and Gringrich took a stronger stance against gay marriage. “I support a constitutional amendment to define marriage between a man and woman,” Pawlenty said.

Paul: Bring the Troops Home Now

Nobody tells the Commander-in-Chief what to do, at least according to Ron Paul. The Texas congressman said as president, he wouldn’t wait for his generals and instead would bring the troops home from Afghanistan immediately. “I'd bring them home as quickly as possible. And I would get them out of Iraq as well. And I wouldn't start a war in Libya. I'd quit bombing Yemen. And I'd quit bombing Pakistan,” Paul said.

What About Sarah Palin?

Can Palin ever stay out of the conversation? Though the former Alaska governor hasn’t actually entered the race, she still managed to be a hot topic at the debate. In the closing questions, King asked the candidates who chose the better running mate in 2008, John McCain or President Obama. Pawlenty summed up the general sentiment, “I think Governor Palin is a remarkable leader. I think she's qualified to be president of the United States.”

The Hardest Hitting Questions

Forget foreign policy and Medicare. Before each commercial break, King challenged the candidates on the most pressing issues to get to know them personally. Watch the field choose between American Idol or Dancing with the Stars, deep dish or thin crust pizza, Conan or Leno, and more questions that will undoubtedly divide the American people.