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Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Matt Rourke/AP/Press Association Images Gingrich (L) and Romney clashed on a number of issues last night
US 2012

Aggressive Romney slams Gingrich in final pre-Florida debate

Romney called on Gingrich to apologise for a controversial ad on immigration and mocked his desire to put a human colony on the moon.

MITT ROMNEY TOOK Newt Gingrich to task over immigration, his personal fiannces and his grand ideas in fiery Republican debate in Florida last night, the last before a primary vote next Tuesday.

The two front-runners in the Republican Party’s nomination contest are practically tied in the latest polls in the sunshine state having already won a state each in the race to face Barack Obama in the autumn.

The debate was the 19th since the race for the Republican nomination began last year and the second in four days in the run-up to the Florida primary. While Gingrich may have had the upper hand in previous debates, there was little doubt Romney excelled in last night’s encounter.

The former Massachusetts governor slammed Gingrich, the former House Speaker, for an ad – later retracted under pressure – which said Romney was ‘anti-immigrant’. Gingrich was asked to apologise as Romney described the ad as “inexcusable and inflammatory and inappropriate”.


YouTube: UnfilteredView

This issue of personal finances also provided a notable moment.

After revelations earlier this week that Romney paid 15 per cent tax over the past two years - lower than the average American, Gingrich appeared to be well positioned querying Romney’s investments in failed mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

But Romney hit back with an attack of his own on Gingrich’s involvement with the mortgage lenders: “Mr. Speaker, I know that sounds like an enormous revelation, but have you checked your own investments?”

“You also have investments for mutual funds that also invest in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.” The retort effectively shut down the issue as Gingrich responded: “All right.”

Romney also ridiculed Gingrich’s desire to put a permanent base on the moon which would be occupied by humans.

“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,’” Romney declared.

Predictably there was less focus on the two other candidates in the race, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are both trailing in the Florida and national polls and are unlikely to secure the nomination.

Former Pennsylvania senator and social conservative Santorum drew applause from the audience when he called on the two front-runners to stop attacking one another and “focus on the issues.”

While Texas congressman and libertarian Ron Paul dismissed questions about his health considering he is 76-years-old. “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,” he said to laughter from the audience and the candidates.


YouTube: shaburney

Disclosures reveal Mitt Romney pays lower taxes than the average American

Newt Gingrich comeback seals victory in latest US primary

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