Republican candidates swarmed Mitt Romney and had some tense moments onstage during a CNN forum at The Venetian in Las Vegas
Las Vegas is accustomed to playing host to prize fights, but the the multi-direction fisticuffs on CNN's fit-for-professional-wrestling stage had the audience at Tuesday's Republican presidential debate ooohing and aahing, whether in admiration or dismay it was hard to say.
At any rate, no one can fault any of the candidates for timidity.
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Former Sen. Rick Santorum jumped on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's credibility in criticizing President Obama's health care expansion, Romney battled back so aggressively that the two talked over each other, a conversation that dove further into unintelligibility when when Texas Gov. Rick Perry jumped in to Santorum's back. Later, Romney and Perry went at each other after Perry ricocheted a question about Texas's low insurance rate for children into an attack on Romney for hiring illegal immigrants, a reference to Romney's hiring of a lawn care firm that employed illegal immigrants. Romney has said he "gave the company a second chance" after asking it to ensure its employees were legal to work in the United States, and he only severed ties after a newspaper report about a year later reported that illegal immigrants were still working on Romney's property. The two went almost literally nose-to-nose, with Romney at one point touching Perry on the shoulder. "A tough couple of debates for Rick," Romney sniped.