Monday evening marked the first time we were down to just five GOP candidates on the debate stage, this time in South Carolina. The debate was sponsored by Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and the South Carolina Republican Party. This event took place at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
Here is the entire debate video via YouTube:
Alternate full video link: ElectAd.com
Original Air Time: Monday, January 16 at 9pm ET on Fox News
Participants: Romney, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum, Paul
Report from Fox News:
The Republican candidates were returning to the campaign trail Tuesday slightly bruised but unbowed after a raucous debate that left Mitt Romney fielding attacks from the get-go and all five candidates earning wild reception from a fired-up audience that will be casting votes alongside fellow South Carolinians on Saturday.
Romney was put on defense out of the box at the Fox News/Wall Street Journal/South Carolina GOP debate — answering questions about his record at private venture firm, Bain Capital; distancing himself from super PAC ads against fellow candidates; defending his record as Massachusetts governor, and dodging demands that he release his tax records.
But Romney held his ground against the onslaught, saying he is proud of his record in business and as governor.
"We were fortunate to have an unemployment rate by the time I left office of 4.7 percent. Sounds pretty good today," Romney said of his one-term leading Massachusetts. "And I was also proud of the fact that we balanced the budget every year I was in office. We reduced taxes 19 times, put in place a rainy day fund of over $2 billion by the time I left."
Still, with his rivals running out of time to make the case they are a viable and "conservative" alternative to the front-runner, the attacks were fast and furious.
Rick Perry accused Bain of sweeping into Georgetown, S.C., and closing a steel mill.
"They picked that company over, and a lot of people lost jobs there," Perry said.
Romney replied that Bain actually invested in two steel mills and invested for seven or eight years, but the mills closed because of actions beyond Bain's control.
I thought each candidate did fairly well this time around. I think Mitt Romney stumbled a little bit since he was on the defense most of the evening but didn't make any crucial gaffes. Gingrich was his usual feisty self while Santorum, Paul and Perry all attempted to capture the spotlight with some solid back-and-forth and mostly solid answers.