Romney, Perry heat up stage at Las Vegas debate

October 19, 2011

In an earlier Republican presidential debate, Mitt Romney delivered a composed, “nice try” when he and Rick Perry locked horns over their respective records.

But at the debate in Las Vegas Tuesday night, a fight for domination between the two 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls came through strong verbal punches.

In one  prolonged verbal battle over illegal immigration, it seemed as if Perry was back in fighting form after poor performances in the early debates.

The Texas governor threw the first jab, accusing Romney of hiring illegal immigrants to mow his lawn and when it was Romney’s turn to respond, Perry continuously interrupted the former Massachusetts governor — drawing boos from the audience.

Here’s a transcript of how the scene unfolded as the moderator, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, played referee:

PERRY: And Mitt, you lose all of your standing, from my perspective, because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year.
And 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.
COOPER: Governor Romney?
ROMNEY: Rick, I don’t think I’ve ever hired an illegal in my life. And so I’m afraid — I’m looking forward to finding your facts on that, because that just doesn’t –
PERRY: Well, I’ll tell you what the facts are.
ROMNEY: Rick, again — Rick, I’m speaking.
PERRY: You had the — your newspaper — the newspaper –
ROMNEY: I’m speaking. I’m speaking. I’m speaking…..You get 30 seconds. This is the way the rules work here, is that I get 60 seconds and then you get 30 second to respond. Right, Anderson?
PERRY: And they want to hear you say that you knew you had illegals working at your –
ROMNEY: Would you please wait? Are you just going to keep talking?
PERRY: Yes, sir.
ROMNEY: Would you let me finish with what I have to say?

As the brawl continued, Romney quipped, “This has been a tough couple of debates for Rick, and I understand that. And so you’re going to get testy.”

At that point, the camera zoomed in on Perry revealing a sour expression on his face.

But the Texas governor, who has never lost an election, did not relent. He again accused Romney of lying to America about hiring illegal immigrants — and he kept interrupting as Romney tried to respond.

And then Romney delivered the final blow.

“You have a problem with allowing someone to finish speaking. And I suggest that if you want to become president of the United States, you have got to let both people speak,” Romney said. “So first, let me speak.”

Photo Credits: REUTERS/Richard Brian; REUTERS/Steve Marcus (Romney, Perry at the Republican debate in Las Vegas)

4 comments

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Between Ron Paul hitting hard and Romney smacking down on both Perry and Cain, I think this was the best debate so far!

POLL: Who won the October 18 CNN / Western Republican Leadership Conference debate in Las Vegas, Nevada?
Vote: http://www.wepolls.com/p/4136260

Posted by Zadoc_Paet | Report as abusive

It’s clear Ron Paul was the winner of the debate but Don’t mention his name to the lame stream media. Isn’t that right Reuters?

Posted by Vigilantis | Report as abusive

Ron Paul didn’t win the debate. His ideas are rubbish, but he really believes them, so I guess at least he isn’t a pandering carpet salesman like the rest of that lot. The GOP lineup this year is a joke, this next election is Obama’s to lose.

Posted by GetpIaning | Report as abusive

Getplaning. I agree with you on on this one. Obama is a failure and will lose against anyone.

The American people realize the mistake they made. They will finish the job they started last year…

Mark my words….

Posted by TyC | Report as abusive