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SIMI VALLEY-Meeting on the debate stage for the first time, Republicans Mitt Romney and Governor Rick Perry squared off. The rest of the Republican debaters at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley seemed relegated to the background.
Perry was the first to take a question from the moderators. He responded by stating, Americans are looking for is someone who can get this country working again. And we put the model in place in the state of Texas. When you look at what we have done over the last decade, we created 1 million jobs in the state of Texas. At the same time, America lost 2.5 million.”
The verbal sparring session began quite early in the debate as Perry took a jab at Romney after touting his job creation record as Governor of Texas. Perry, responding to Romney’s statement of his job creation record, said, “The fact is … he had one of the lowest job creation rates in the country. As a matter of fact, we created more jobs in the last three months in Texas than he created in four years in Massachusetts.”
Romney responded by pointing out that the two states were different then continued, “Those are wonderful things, but Gov. Perry doesn’t believe that he created those things. If he tried to say that, why, it would be like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet.”
Quickly poking back, Perry brought up Michael Dukakis, the former governor of Romney’s home state, saying, “Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt.” Romney blocked by saying, “Well, as a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, Governor.” To that Perry said, “That’s not correct.” Romney shot back with, “That is correct.”
When asked what he had to say about what he was hearing from Romney and Perry, former Senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum replied, “I think what people are looking for is someone to get something done. And that’s what I have a track record of doing in Washington, D.C.,” He went on to describe his plan, “We cut the corporate tax from 35 percent to zero, because we want to build the great middle of America again.”
When Herman Cain was asked to respond, he replied, “Here’s how I would fix this economy, first, eliminate the current tax code.” He then described his plan, “I call it my 9-9-9 economic growth plan. Throw out the current tax code, a 9 percent tax on corporate income, our 9 percent tax on personal income and a 9 percent national sales tax. If 10 percent is good enough for God, 9 percent ought to be good enough for the federal government.”
The moderator then moved to Jon HUntsman fron Utah, asking what he thought about Romney’s call to label China as a currency manipulator. Huntsman replied, “Mitt, now is not the time in a recession to enter a trade war,” he continued by addressing Perry, “And I hate to rain on the parade of the Lone Star governor, but as governor of Utah, we were the number one job creator in this country during my years of service. That was 5.9 percent when you were creating jobs at 4.9 percent.”
Huntsman, on evolution, had this to say to Perry as well, “Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution — all I’m saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can’t run from science.”
Later in the debate conversation moved on to Perry’s book, “Fed Up!” where he called the Social Security System a fraud. Perry justified the points laid out in his book by saying, “It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years today you’re paying into a program that’s going to be there. Anybody that’s for the status quo with Social Security today is involved with a monstrous lie to our kids, and it’s not right.”
Romney quickly admonished Perry for that statement and countered, saying, “You can’t say that to tens of millions of Americans who live on Social Security and those who have lived on it. Our nominee has to be someone who … isn’t committed to abolishing Social Security but who is committed to saving Social Security.”
Perry was also called out for his proposal for controversial vaccination program for teen girls by Ron Paul. Perry replied by saying he should have worked more closely with his legislature on that matter. Romney also seemed to come to Perry’s defense on that issue saying Perry’s words speak for themselves and every Governor makes mistakes.
Representative Michele Bachmann, who has done well up until this point, seemed to fade into the woodwork during the debate, other than opposing Obama’s Health care plan and the war in Libya, she really did not have much to say.