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Perry, Romney square off in Republican debate

 Republican presidential hopeful former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks about his plan for creating jobs and improving the economy during a speec...

Romney 2012

Republican presidential hopeful former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks about his plan for creating jobs and improving the economy during a speec...

The top contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney, were squaring off for the first time in a debate Wednesday night, both claiming to be the party's best choice to fix the U.S. economy and defeat President Barack Obama.
Michele Bachmann and other struggling presidential hopefuls looked to use the debate and two others this month to prevent the campaign from morphing into a two way race between Perry, the governor of Texas, and Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.
With the U.S. unemployment rate stuck at 9.1 percent, the candidates expected to spend much of the nearly two-hour debate sparring over the economy. Perry has been touting his jobs record in Texas, while Romney just unveiled his own detailed economic plan.
While taking on each other, the candidates were sure to agree that Obama is doing a poor job and must be defeated. The debate, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, comes one day before Obama delivers a major address on creating jobs before a joint session of Congress.
Perry, who cut short his campaign appearances this week to deal with wildfires raging in Texas, flew to California for the debate even though the flames weren't extinguished. It was his first national debate appearance.
He was going up against Romney, who ran for president in 2008 and has honed his debate skills since then. Romney turned in strong performances in the three previous debates _ all held before Perry entered the race and overtook Romney in national and early state polls.
The stakes also were high for the others on stage _ particularly for Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman looking look to keep her name near the top of a pile that also includes former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, businessman Herman Cain, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who was Obama's ambassador to China.
Bachmann's standing rose quickly this summer, and she won a key test vote in Iowa on Aug. 13. But Perry's entrance into the race eclipsed her, and she's seen staff upheaval this week, losing her campaign manager and her deputy campaign manager.
Huntsman, for his part, was looking to prove he's still relevant _ a goal made more difficult by a sinus infection that has affected his voice and that kept him from planned television appearances Wednesday. Huntsman aides said he still would debate.


Updated : 2021-07-28 05:52 GMT+08:00