DES MOINES, IA - DECEMBER 10: Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney looks on during the GOP debate on the campus of Drake University on December 10, 2011 in Des Moines, Iowa. Rivals were expected to target front runner Gingrich in the debate hosted by ABC News, Yahoo News, WOI-TV, The Des Moines Register and the Iowa GOP. (Photo by Matthew Putney-Pool/Getty Images)
Governor Rick Perry and Ron Paul, the two Texans vying to become the next President of the United States are but a footnote in the latest debate and news stories.
Republican candidates Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Perry, Paul, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum squared off in Iowa Saturday night in the debate shown on ABC and co-sponsored by the Des Moines Register. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is so behind in the polls, he wasn't even invited to the debate according to some reports.
Judging from the debate you could tell who the front-runners in this race are: former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Now, while there were no gaffs this time around, Texas Governor Rick Perry did take a few jabs at his fellow candidates. Perry and Rick Santorum say a candidate's fidelity to their spouse is a factor voters should consider, subtly distinguishing themselves from national poll leader Newt Gingrich.
Perry, Texas' governor, said: "If you cheat on your wife, you'll cheat on your business partner. It's a characteristic people look at." Perry and Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, are both aggressively courting social conservatives by touting their family lives.
"Certainly, it's a factor and it should be a factor when you're electing a leader," he said. Gingrich, who has admitted past infidelity, was asked the question last and confronted it as he has throughout the campaign
Michele Bachmann and Perry are also tying rivals Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich together and calling them "not conservative." Bachmann referred repeatedly to "Newt-Romney," saying Gingrich and Romney hold similar views on health care, illegal immigration, cap-and-trade legislation and the payroll tax cut extension.
Perry said he agrees with Bachmann. He attacked Romney for including an individual mandate in the insurance plan he signed as governor of Massachusetts. Bachmann said if voters want a "proven conservative, it's not Newt-Romney."
The Iowa Caucasus is set for January 3.
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