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The 3rd primary Republican presidential debate of the month took place in Orlando and may have been the first debate to really change up the race. For one thing, there were no longer just eight contenders on stage, but there was a ninth addition, Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico who joined the race.
Of course there was the same battle between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney that the audience has seen in past debates, but Romney came out stronger then Perry did in this particular debate. It seems as if some of Rick Perry’s policies have backfired on him.
What he believed originally was a vaccine to save young girls lives, turned out to be a controversial issue and one brought up repeatedly by Michele Bachmann. Perry admitted he was wrong about the mandatory HPV vaccines as in prior debates, but this time around he made a well-designed approach at justifying his actions with a story about a woman who was dying of HPV, who lobbied him for support.
Another instance was when Perry was called “soft” on border patrol and immigration. Perry thought it was a good idea to promote and educate illegal immigrants at Texas colleges by giving them in-state tuition, a total of $100,000 dollars in savings in some cases. This came off to the other candidates as a free pass for people who don’t necessarily deserve it and is rejected by many.
Santorum has been a main critic of this action and questioned Perry during the first half of the debate on it. John Huntsman got some speaking time in the debate and has shown to be picking up in polls in New Hampshire. People are now wondering if he can he pick up support nationally.
Other highlights throughout the night included Gary Johnson’s dog comment, which is making headlines throughout the nation. “My next door neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel ready jobs than this administration.” This quote was made popular the next day especially for supposedly copying it from Rush Limbaugh.
A moving moment in the debate was presented by Herman Cain when he told his story of when he had cancer and explaining how he “would be dead on ObamaCare.” The story clearly connected him with the audience. Bachmann still didn’t get as much time as she probably would have hoped, but has been consistent in answering questions well.
The interactive aspects added by Google also contributed to shaking up the debate and put each candidate on the spot and added some pressure to the night. Some questions that were added to the debate were “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the education system. The number of viwers alsmot doubled from previous debates and had 6.1 million viewers tuning in.