Romney Flip-Flops on Live Television
Romney is frequently accused of flip-flopping, and it's going to be hard for him to rebuke those accusations after tonight's debate. The former Massachusett's governor is questioned about his stance on the Supreme Court's decision that the Constitution gives a right to privacy—particularly with regard to buying contraception. Romney initially responds by saying he doesn't think that decision was correct. However, when pressed further, Romney says there's no reason to make a law allowing states to ban contreception—"it's working just fine, just leave it alone," he says smirking, to laughter and applause. Very funny, Romney, but George Stephanopoulos is not amused. When called out for giving two answers to the original question, Romney clarifies that he disagrees with Roe v. Wade. That's great, but not what George asked.
Ron Paul: Crusader for Black Rights
George Stephanopoulos addresses the recently recovered racist newsletters printed under Ron Paul's name. "It's been explained many times," Paul says, insisting that it was 20 years ago and he didn't write those newsletters anyway. After all, one of his heroes is Martin Luther King Jr., so there's no way Paul could be racist. Oh, and he's a fan of Rosa Parks, too. Paul goes on to address the racism of drug laws.
Romney's Record of Ruthlessness
The debate starts off by digging into Mitt Romney's record, in particular, referencing a pro–Newt Gingrich ad slamming Romney's tenure at Bain capital. Gingrich sidesteps addressing the ad—claiming he hasn't seen it, but he read a New York Times article about it. Romney is not surprised that The New York Times or President Obama would question free enterprise, but he's shocked to have such questions coming from his fellow Republicans.
More Than a Microphone Mishap?
Ron Paul is questioned about alleging that Rick Santorum is corrupt. As he starts to call out Santorum for accepting money from lobbyists, Paul's microphone backfires. “They caught you not telling the truth, Ron,” quips Santorum to resounding laughter from the audience. Santorum dismisses the accusations of corruption by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington insisting, “If you haven't been sued by CREW, you're not a conservative.”
Rick Perry The Outsider
Romney, Paul and Santorum are bickering back and forth when Perry, sporting what looks like a new haircut, interjects, taking this opportunity to differentiate himself from the rest of the D.C. insider candidates. “You go get the earmarks and then vote against the bill? I don't know what they call that in other places but, Congressman Paul, in Texas we call that hypocrisy.” After tripping over his words in every other debate, Perry sounds very smooth here.
Huntsman Shows Off His Mandarin Skills
Jon Huntsman is finally given the chance to shine when conversation turns to China. Romney says that as president, he would demand that the Chinese stop taking American jobs. Huntsman jumps in by saying something in Mandarin—to which Romney throws up his hands—and explains that what Romney is calling for would actually instigate a trade war.
Gay marriage is a state issue, not a federal issue, because gay people only live in certain states—at least according to Rick Santorum. And, he argues, if a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman were passed, the 18,000 or so same-sex marriages that already exist in this country should be considered invalid.