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09.07.11

Perry, Romney Dominate GOP Debate

Rick Perry makes his national debut as the Republican candidates square off for the 2012 nomination. Read the debate's highlights.

Romney, Perry Take Over Debate

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Masschauseets Gov. Mitt Romney dominated Wednesday's Republican debate by trading barbs over each other's policies and rhetoric. Romney attacked Perry as being a "career politician," Perry took on Romney's universal health care program—and both went after each other for their job creation records. At one point, the debate became so heated that they were chastised by Newt Gingrich, who said "whoever the nominee is, we're all for defeating Obama." When attacked about climate change, Perry attempted to defend his position, saying it is based on "science that's not settled yet ... Galileo got outvoted for a spell." The other candidates tried to chime in, with Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann slamming President Obama's gas prices, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum attacking Perry's institution of an HPV cancer vaccine for girls as young as 12.

Bachmann Fades at Debate

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann’s latest headlines are not from all the noise she’s making, but rather from her lack of comments at Wednesday’s Republican debate. By some tallies, in the first 90 minutes she had spoken only five times. She focused mainly on attacking President Obama’s health-care program, saying it was “killing jobs.” But she also attacked Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s initiative to vaccinate “innocent” 12-year-old girls against HPV, a sexually transmitted cancer. Bachmann’s silence came mainly from a lack of questions by the moderators and a lack of challenges by other candidates, who wanted to focus on Perry, the newly minted frontrunner.

Read Andrew Sullivan's Live Blog of the Debate

8.11 pm. Romney's off to a very polished stance. A nice demurral on "career politicians." And a swift response to Perry's tweak on job creation in Texas versus Massachusetts. MORE >>

GOP Debate Focuses on Job Creation

Coming one day before President Obama’s highly anticipated job-creation speech Thursday, the Republican candidates focused largely on their own job-creation plans, with most candidates touting their records in the private sector. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was on the defensive immediately when Mitt Romney attacked Perry’s “miracle” job creation rate and called Perry a “career politician.” Perry shot back at Romney’s claims about Texas health care by attacking the universal coverage program in Massachusetts, saying “states can do a better job of providing healthcare” than Massachusetts. While there was no dearth of strong words in the debate—Rep. Michele Bachmann called Obama's health care "Obamacare" and Perry called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme"—there were two notable words absent: Ronald Reagan.

GOP Debaters Gun for Perry
by Mark McKinnon

Wednesday night’s debate at the Reagan Library won’t be about President Obama this time but Rick Perry, who has the most to prove from his first face-off, says Mark McKinnon.

Rick Perry’s Swing-Voter Problem
by Jill Lawrence

The Texas governor’s views on evolution, homosexuality, and Social Security could be a general-election albatross. Jill Lawrence on why he could drive away swing-state suburban voters and seniors.

Perry's Controversial Money Man
by Michelle Goldberg

Archconservative James Leininger bankrolled Perry’s rise, helped religious fundamentalists take over the Texas GOP, and is lining up Christian leaders behind the governor’s 2012 bid.