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GOP debate: candidates battle over immigration, healthcare and taxes

The candidates battled over issues including healthcare and immigration.

Mitt Romney GOP debateEnlarge
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (L) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry participate in the Republican presidential debate aired on CNN, October 18, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

In the sixth meeting of the Republican presidential candidates in just as many weeks, the GOP debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday turned heated without uncovering any new opinions, reported the Los Angeles Times.

The debate covered issues including healthcare, the economy, the conservative consistency of the candidates, and immigration, over which former Massachussetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry bitterly clashed, according to the Guardian. It adds that personal attacks were made on both sides, including one from Gov. Perry about Mitt Romney's alleged employment of illegal immigrants as his yard workers for a year.

Howard Kurtz of The Daily Beast concluded, after the two-hour long event, that Mitt Romney was the winner, creating a strong image as his rivals sought to interrupt him throughout the evening.

Herman Cain, of 9-9-9 tax plan fame, had trouble playing defense, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Both Mitt Romney and Rick Perry questioned his pizza-esque plan for rebooting the economy, and Cain struggled to respond.

More from GlobalPost: Herman Cain's foreign policy: 5 things to know (VIDEO)

The New York Times reports that the debate focused almost entirely on challenges made at the other candidates, with criticism of President Obama and the Democratic Party making few appearances.

The Times noticed Perry's invigorated approach to the debate. The rest of the candidates, including Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, seem to be very much out of the spotlight, according to John Avlon on

John Huntsman was the only candidate who voluntarily opted out of Tuesday's debate.