Things got a little heated last night between candidates presently in second and third place, respectively, during the Republican Presidential Candidate debate in Las Vegas.
In an already testy debate, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry got into a fight over Romney’s hiring of a lawn-mowing company that had hired undocumented immigrants in the past.
“Those people that hire illegals ought to be penalized, and Mitt, you lose all of your standing in my perspective because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year.” Perry said. “The idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you’re strong on immigration is on its face the height of hypocrisy,” he said at the CNN debate in Las Vegas, Nev., an early voting state that Romney won big in 2008.
Romney tried to deny the charges, of course, and asked Perry for the evidence.
Perry responded and things quickly dissolved into into a scene reminiscent of two kiindergartners fighting in a sandbox:
Romney: This has been a tough couple of debates for Rick and I understand that you’re going to get testy, but I’ll tell you what — let me take my time and then you can take your time.
Perry: You stood here in front of the American people and did not tell the truth that you had illegals working on your property and the newspaper came to you, brought it to your attention and you still a year later had those individuals working for you. The idea that you can sit here and talk about any of us having an immigration issue is beyond me.
Of course, this charge was made against Romney during the 2008 presidential debates.
Perry then interrupted Romney as he was starting to respond and the brylcreemed one got a little hot under the collar:
You have a problem with allowing someone to finish speaking. And I would suggest that if you want to become president of the United States you’ve got to let both people speak.
Of course, all the candidates jumped on frontrunner Herman Cain. His recent meteoric rise in the polls has placed him in the number one position on both Democrat and Republican hit parades:
Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota led the verbal assault moments after the debate began, saying his call for a 9 percent federal sales tax would only be the beginning, with the rate rising later.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania wasn’t nearly as gentle, citing one analysis that found that taxes would go up for 84 percent of the nation’s households if Cain’s proposal went into effect. “We’re talking about major increases in taxes,” he said, adding that a single person and a couple with children with the same income would pay the same tax under Cain’s proposal.
Undeterred, Cain insisted the charges were untrue. He said he was being criticized because lobbyists, accountants and others “want to continue to be able to manipulate the American people with a 10-million- word mess,” the current tax code.
Cain’s proposal is for a 9 percent personal income tax, a 9 percent corporate tax and a 9 percent national sales tax.
The former pizza company CEO is the latest and unlikeliest phenomenon in the race to pick a Republican rival for President Barack Obama. A black man in a party that draws few votes from Africans Americans, he had bumped along with little notice as Romney sought to fend off one fast-rising rival after another.
That all changed in the past few weeks, after Perry burst into the race and then fell back in the polls. However unlikely Cain’s rise, Tuesday night’s debate made clear that none of his rivals are willing to let him go unchallenged.
“Herman, I love you, brother, but let me tell you something, you don’t need to have a big analysis to figure this thing out,” Perry said to Cain. “Go to New Hampshire where they don’t have a sales tax and you’re fixing to give them one,” he said, referring to the state that will hold the first primary early next year.
As Gov. Perry and his fellow Republican Candidates were eviscerating Perry in Las Vegas, the only Democratic Candidate for President, Barack Hussein Obama, was joining in with their cacophonous chorus last night during an interview with ABC News:
President Barack Obama says GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan would be a “huge burden” on middle-class and working families.
The president says Cain’s plan would make sure that the wealthiest pay less – and replace the revenue with a sales tax hitting the less well-off.
Obama said that approach isn’t new. And he said that across the board he hasn’t heard any new ideas on helping the economy from Republicans, either in Congress or the candidates.
Excuse me, Mr. President. I have a question: How about some new ideas from you first, Scooter?
I agree with something Former Speaker of the House and current Republican Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich said in response to all the sniping at last night’s debate:
Let me just point out for a second that maximizing bickering is probably not the road to the White House.
And the audience applauded…because the Candidate that all the Republicans should be attacking, lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC.