Full Video: Rick Perry, Mitt Romney Take Gloves Off in GOP Debate

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gop-debate[Videos below.] Eager to tangle, Republican rivals Rick Perry and Mitt Romney sparred vigorously Wednesday night over job creation and Social Security in a feisty debate that marked a contentious new turn in the race to pick a 2012 challenger to President Barack Obama.

Far more than in earlier GOP debates, the candidates mixed it up in their first faceoff since Perry entered the race and almost instantly overtook Romney as the front-runner in opinion polls. The contenders sniped at one another, contradicted allegations and interrupted news media questioners to demand opportunities to take each other on.

“Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt,” Perry jabbed in the opening moments, referring to Romney’s Democratic predecessor as governor of Massachusetts.

“As a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessors created jobs at a faster rate than you did,” Romney shot back.

Social Security produced more sparks, when Perry said the program was a Ponzi scheme.

Romney quickly referred to Perry’s book, “Fed Up,” in which the Texas governor said that by any measure, the program was a failure. Perry also said states should be able to opt out, Romney added.

The debate was the first of three in as many weeks, at a time when the economy is struggling and Obama’s popularity is sinking in the polls.

Perry and Romney stood stiffly next to each other on the stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, a setting that evoked the memory of the conservative Republican icon. For much of the evening, the two were at the center of the action, largely reducing their rivals to the roles of spectators.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, businessman Herman Cain, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania also shared the stage for the debate hosted by MSNBC and Politico.

Click below for full video coverage of the debate, hosted, as requested by our readers, on our own servers, so that all readers can watch and enjoy:

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{Article: Freep.com/Matzav.com Newscenter}


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