The Republican candidates traded barbs one last time on Thursday night’s debate in Jacksonville, Florida, with words like “petty,” “inflammatory,” and “repulsive” making an appearance.
Political analysts largely gave the victory to Mitt Romney, as he went on the offensive against Newt Gingrich.
Here are five notable moments from the debate:
1) Romney’s defense of his immigration policy: Responding to Gingrich’s ad which called him “the most anti-immigrant candidate,” Romney responded strongly, saying, “That's inexcusable. And, actually, Senator Marco Rubio came to my defense and said that ad was inexcusable and inflammatory and inappropriate. Mr. Speaker, I'm not anti-immigrant. My father was born in Mexico.” He went on to say, “The idea that I'm anti-immigrant is repulsive. Don't use a term like that.”
2) Gingrich’s colony on the moon: When asked about how he planned to create a colony on the moon (one of his campaign promises), while keeping taxes down, he said, “Lindbergh flew to Paris for a $25,000.00 prize. If we had a handful of serious prizes, you'd see an extraordinary number of people out there trying to get to the moon first in order to have billed that. And I'd like to have an American on the moon before the Chinese get there.”
Romney shot back with, “If I had a business executive come to me and say I want to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I'd say, 'You're fired.'”
More on GlobalPost: Newt Gingrich promises Moon base by 2020
3) Romney taking snipes at Gingrich: Gingrich responded to the moderator, Wolf Blitzer’s question about the transparency of Romney’s tax returns by saying it was a “nonsense question,” and stating that he would reserve a response for “an interview on some TV show,” not a national debate. Romney shot back, “Wouldn’t it be nice if people didn’t make accusations somewhere else that they weren’t willing to defend here?”
More on GlobalPost: Mitt Romney's tax returns reveal he pays 15 percent, less than average American
4) Rick Santorum, also present: Santorum appealed to the candidates to stop the “petty personal politics,” and focus on the issues, saying, “Can we set aside that Newt was a member of Congress and used the skills that he developed as a member of Congress to go out and advise companies ... and that Mitt Romney is a wealthy guy because he worked hard and he's going out and working hard?”
5) Ron Paul on his medical records: Paul, 76, said he would make his medical records public and then went on to say, “I'm willing to challenge any of these gentlemen up here to a 25-mile bike ride any time of the day in the heat of Texas.”
Here are some clips from CBS news: