Immigration And Space Travel Prime Topics In Florida Debate

January 27, 2012 9:28 am ET — Media Matters Action Network

Last night's GOP presidential primary debate in Florida — the last before the state's primary on Tuesday — was again a showdown between frontrunners Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Right off the bat, the two delved into a back-and-forth on immigration, with Gingrich scrambling to defend an ad calling Romney "anti-immigrant," which he had had to pull down after Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) voiced criticism of its content. Romney, for his part, stumbled when he denied responsibility for an ad running on the radio in Florida that highlighted Gingrich's "language of the ghetto" comments, saying, "I doubt it's mine." CNN, however found the ad and pointed out that it concluded with Romney saying, "I'm Mitt Romney and I approve this message."

Another portion of the debate focused on the future of the space industry, following Gingrich's recent promise to establish a moon base by the end of his second term. In the debate, the candidates mostly tried to hover somewhere between pandering to Florida voters affected by dwindling jobs in the space industry and emphasizing the low priority of space travel given worries about the deficit. Gingrich seemed to have few concerns about the deficit, suggesting that the government offer prizes to private companies who achieve space milestones and envisioning a future with "six or seven" rocket launches each day.

Fellow candidates Rick Santorum and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) didn't garner nearly the attention of the other two, but Santorum, at least, found time to attack President Obama over the administration's handling of the Honduran coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya.

Watch highlights below the fold.

Santorum Defends Illegal Coup In Honduras

Gingrich And Romney Spar On Immigration

Romney Claims His Fannie And Freddie Investments Are In A Blind Trust: Not Quite

CNN Corrects Mitt Romney's Denial Of Ad He Approved

Gingrich On Space Travel: I Envision "Six Or Seven Launches A Day"