Romney Braves Fresh Attack, But Fumbles

Republican candidates stage new assault on front-runner
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2012 1:31 PM CST
Mitt Romney Braves Fresh Attack in Republican Presidential Debate
Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney participate during the NBC News Facebook Debate on 'Meet the Press' January 8, 2012, at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire.   (Getty Images)

A new day, a new Republican presidential debate. Mitt Romney's opponents took another whack at him this morning after letting him off easy last night. A few takeaways:

  • Most Romney attacks missed. Mitt held off assaults from Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, rarely getting flustered, Politico reports.

  • Mitt fumbled a little. Two remarks may come back to haunt him: a boast that he'd forced Ted Kennedy to mortgage his house, and a claim he had never seen Super PAC ads supporting his candidacy. His waffling over why he hadn't run for re-election as governor of Massachusetts seemed "ridiculous," Buzzfeed notes.
  • Newt coined a phrase. Gingrich told Romney to cut the "pious baloney," showing Newt won't play Mr. Nice Guy anymore.
  • Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry shined. Huntsman got his most air-time ever while Perry was smooth and polished. Too little, too late for both of them?
  • Rick Santorum went after Ron Paul. “The problem with Congressman Paul is, all the things that Republicans like about him he can’t accomplish and all the things they’re worried about, he’ll do Day One,” said Santorum, reports the Washington Post.
  • Paul fought back. Calling the who's-a-true-conservative debate "superficial," Paul said: “I don’t see how we can have anybody really compete with Obama who doesn’t challenge this huge empire we have overseas and the overseas spending."
See more on Politico. (Read more GOP debate stories.)

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