Gingrich Defends Romney Attack AdsThe debate kicks off by addressing perhaps the biggest topic of conversation this past week: attack ads against Mitt Romney’s record as CEO of Bain Capital. With biggest offender Newt Gingrich in the hot seat, he confesses that “staying positive through Iowa, through $3.5 million of negative attacks, proved that you have to unilaterally disarm and leave the race or you have to at least bring up your competitor’s record.” Despite having admitted days ago that he’d gone too far with his attacks against Romney, Newt refuses to back down when pressed about his negative ads. “I don’t think raising questions is a prerogative of only Barack Obama.”
Mr. Romney, Release Your Tax Records!
Rick Perry is asked how, as president, he would curb “vulture capitalism.” He first mentions visiting Georgetown, S.C., a former steel-mill town that, he says, lost jobs because of Bain Capital. He then segues to a declaration that Mitt Romney must release his income-tax returns. Oh, and the Dodd-Frank financial reform and most financial regulations must go.
Ron Paul: Attack Ads Are Totally AppropriateNegative attacks should be abandoned only if they’re not truthful, says Ron Paul. Indeed, the only problem Paul has with his attack ad against Rick Santorum is that he “couldn’t get all the things I wanted to say in one minute.” Santorum responds calmly, noting that Paul’s ads have cited CREW and other left-wing organizations as sources for his attacks. “Well, of course left-wing organizations say a lot of bad things about me. I expect them. And I wear that as a badge of honor, not something that I’m ashamed of,” Santorum boasts.
Santorum Catches Romney in a Flip-Flop
The former senator from Pennsylvania addresses a recent attack ad against his campaign accusing him of voting to allow convicted felons to vote. Santorum turns the tables on Mitt Romney, asking whether the former Massachusetts governor believes felons who’ve served their time and obeyed parole should be allowed to vote. The two start bickering when Mitt tries to dodge the question and Santorum refuses to allow it. Romney finally says he doesn’t believe people who’ve committed violent crimes should be allowed to vote. Santorum quickly jumps on Romney’s answer by pointing out that when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, felons not only could vote once they exited prison, they could vote while on probation and parole.
Gingrich Defends Food-Stamp CommentsJuan Williams asks Newt Gingrich whether he realizes his comments that black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps, and that poor kids should work as janitors are offensive. “No, I don’t see that,” Gingrich responds. Employing students as janitors would be more beneficial than paying for adult janitors, he says. Williams gets booed when he says that Gingrich calling Obama “the food-stamp president” is belittling. Gingrich gets a round of roaring applause when he replies, “First of all, Juan, the fact is more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.”
Perry: Urinating Marines Not ‘Utterly Despicable’Rick Perry caught a lot of flak this week for not condemning the U.S. Marines who were caught urinating on Taliban corpses. Addressing the incident at the debate over the shouts of an audience member, he says the Marines made a mistake and should be punished. Still, Perry insists, the secretary of defense was wrong to call the actions despicable. “Let me tell you what’s utterly despicable: cutting Danny Pearl’s head off and showing the video of it. Hanging our contractors from bridges. That’s utterly despicable.” The president condemning the Marines’ actions shows his disdain for our country, Perry argues.
Romney Slams Super PACsRomney and Gingrich go back and forth over their super PACs’ attack ads, acknowledging that campaign-finance laws bar them from making personal contact with their super PACs and from weighing in on their advertising decisions. But Romney says he’d like to publicly ask that his super PAC get rid of any advertisement that makes unproven claims about his opponents’ records. Romney also slams the documentary King of Bain, bought by the pro-Gingrich super PAC, calling it “probably the biggest hoax since Bigfoot.”