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01.08.12

Best Moments from the NBC’s Sunday New Hampshire Debate (Video)

From Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney’s super PAC showdown to Rick Perry finally remembering the third agency he would cut, watch the best moments of the Republican showdown. Plus, Daily Beast writers weigh in, must-see clips from the Saturday debate, and analysis of that performance.

Rick Santorum vs. Mitt Romney

Things have taken a turn south since Rick Santorum endorsed Mitt Romney in 2008. Santorum said he had run in a district that was “more Democrat than Massachusetts” in the same year that Romney challenged Ted Kennedy for his Senate seat. Santorum charged that Romney was to the left of Ted Kennedy on abortion and gay rights and then said, “If it was so important to you to fight for the people of Massachusetts, then why didn’t you fight the fight for them?”

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Rick Santorum vs. Mitt Romney

Newt Gingrich: Pious Baloney, ‘Why Don’t You Just Level With the American People?’

Newt Gingrich has really come a long way from the “positive” campaign. Gingrich attacked Romney’s record, saying to him, “Why don’t you just level with the American people?” about Romney's constant charge that he is not a “career politician.” “I realize the red light doesn’t mean anything to you because you’re the frontrunner, but can we drop the pious baloney?” Gingrich asked.

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Huntsman: ‘Mitt Romney Criticized Me for Serving My Country’

Jon Huntsman is following through on his Saturday-night comments that he would “have a hard time voting against Obama.” Sunday morning, Huntsman said Romney “has criticized me for serving my country” when Huntsman was the ambassador to China. “The nation is divided, David, because of attitudes like that,” Huntsman said to applause from the audience.

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Perry Remembers All Three Agencies

Count this one as a victory for Rick Perry. After the “oops” heard ’round the world, a question came in from Facebook asking Perry to name the three agencies that he would cut. Perry took the question in his stride, simply saying that he would cut Education, Commerce, and Energy to applause from the audience. Rick Santorum at least approved of it, saying, “That’s three.”

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Ron Paul Defines Freedom

It’s not a debate without a rant from Ron Paul. The Texas congressman, who is currently polling second in New Hampshire, attacked his own party for not having a good record on protecting civil liberties. But Paul said his biggest proposal is to take on the spending problem in this country, saying that his opponents talk about reforming Social Security and Medicare while he believes those departments should be cut entirely.

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‘When Was the Last Time You Stood Up for Gay Rights?'

Note to Mitt Romney: old interviews will always come back to haunt you. Boston’s WHDH reporter Any Hiller quoted an interview with a gay publication where Romney said the gay community needs more support. Romney said that while he opposes gay marriage, he had appointed several gay people in his time as Massachusetts governor. “If people are looking for someone who discriminates against gays, you won’t find that in me,” Romney said. Hiller challenged Romney, asking “When was the last time you stood up for gay rights?” and Romney answered “Right now” to applause. But Santorum was not swayed by the applause, saying he does not support a “gay rights” agenda. Hiller asked Santorum what he would do if his son said he was gay, and Santorum said, “I wouldn’t love him any less as I did the second before he said it.”

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Super PAC Showdown

The super PAC argument just got extremely personal—and with Ron Paul standing in between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, no less. Gingrich angrily asserted his ad campaigns that have called Romney a “liar” are true and a “predator” and said that Romney’s former company, Bain Capital, “looted” companies. Noting that it’s strange that Gingrich has been attacking the media and Romney for constantly attacking Gingrich and is doing the same thing, moderator David Gregory turned to Romney and asked why he hasn’t stopped the negative ads. Romney asked what exactly is false about the ads, saying that Gingrich had been forced out of his speaker position. Gingrich said he has sent a letter to South Carolina stations asking them to fact-check the ads and then he turned to Romney and said “you know these ads are untrue.” But Romney knows his campaign law—as well as Stephen Colbert at least—and said that while his former staff members might be running the super PACs, “under the law, I can’t direct their ads.” Gingrich then defended the 27-minute video put out by a super PAC that supports him, saying that he hopes it shines light on Romney’s real record.

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