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The debate that took place at the infamous Ronald Reagan Library gave those who tuned in the opportunity to formally see where the eight GOP presidential candidates stand on some of the most burning issues facing the country. It was clear that two candidates carried the spotlight throughout the night. Romney and Perry didn’t waste any time and began their heated battle right from the start.
Each dealt with tough questions, and both were confronted on issues of job creation in their state and their plan for the economy. Romney, who was bumped down by Perry in recent polls to a second place, showed an adequate performance at last week’s debate. Romney was able to stay composed and focused even when faced with questions regarding some of his weak spots, such as healthcare.
Romney’s health care plan, often referred to as “Romney Care,” was one topic that Romney couldn’t avoid answering — the main reason being that all other candidates oppose Romney’s healthcare bill because it resembles that of President Obama. He will have to expand on the difference between his and the President’s in future debates.
Romney was also confronted with his ideas for job creation when questioned about his poor ranking as the 47th state for job creation within his ten years as governor. Romney responded, “We were able to turn around the job losses and at the end of four years we had the unemployment rate down to 4.7%. That’s a record I think the president would like to see. As a matter of fact we created more jobs in Massachusetts than this president has created in this entire country.”
He also used his experience in the private sector to promote his foundation for forming jobs. Rick Perry, who is now in the lead in the GOP presidential election, is known to be inexperienced in live debates compared to the other candidates. However, this didn’t show and Perry was able to answer many questions, with only a few fumbles.
Perry was also faced with the topic of job creation and economy. He was asked about economic issues that surround Texas such as having the lowest minimum wage in the country and being one of eight states with the highest level of poverty.
Perry responded, “What 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 have created one million jobs in the state of Texas, the same time Americans lost 2 1/2 million.”
Although a good answer, Perry dodged many of the questions being asked and instead responded with his track record of creating jobs. The fact that Mitt Romney and Rick Perry were in the spotlight last at the first debate could indicate the direction of the race for the presidential nomination.
Mark McKinnon, a former adviser to President George W. Bush during his presidential campaign, responded to last week’s debate as, “great theater, good fireworks. Rick Perry is the front-runner and he did nothing last night to knock himself off that status. Mitt Romney was solid as he has been in the recent debates.”
With both candidates showing no signs of giving up, it will be exciting to see if the upcoming debates continue to play out like a boxing match between Romney and Perry, or if other candidates will want to step in for the fight.
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