November 10, 2011 9:23 am ET - by Media Matters Action Network
At last night's GOP presidential primary debate, hosted at Oakland College in Michigan, the candidates' performances were par for the course. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) pitched his anti-government fend-for-yourself solutions to the nation's economic woes. Jon Huntsman hung off to the side struggling to get a word in. Newt Gingrich made a reference to his prior "food stamp president" comments. And Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) committed perhaps his worst debate gaffe yet when he mentioned a desire to abolish three government agencies but could only name two.
Perry also made some substantive errors, claiming that regulations are "killing America" when in fact business owners and economists alike point to a lack of demand as the primary obstacle to hiring. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) smiled and delivered line after line of saccharine talking points, including a mischaracterization of the taxes corporations pay. Mitt Romney, for his part, dishonestly blamed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for the housing crisis. He also defended himself against the allegation that he's inconsistent by reminding viewers he's been married to the same woman for 42 years and been in the same church all his life.
An interesting moment came when Herman Cain was asked about recent sexual harassment allegations (despite the debate's focus on the economy). He answered quickly, but his response was bolstered by the audience's audible boos, and that along with Romney's refusal to attack Cain on the story put the topic to rest. Cain spent the rest of the debate answering nearly every question with references to his 9-9-9 plan — until moderator Jim Cramer asked him to stop.
Watch the highlights below:
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