Newt Gingrich

UT government professor Sean Theriault argues in his new book, “The Gingrich Senators: The Roots of Partisan Warfare in Congress,“ that the delay in senate processes is due to a small group of senators, which has created a more hyper-partisan atmosphere in the United States Senate. 

This has resulted in a slower process of passing bills, according to Theriault. He said he arrived at this argument through years of researching, after writing two previous books on the United States Congress. Theriault said he wanted to figure out how the United States House of Representatives practices blocking or promoting legislation flowed into the Senate after 1978. 

Through his research, he identified Republicans who moved from the House to the Senate as the ones who brought hyper-partisian attitudes. The move began in 1978 when Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, was first elected to Congress.

The current senators today who he calls “Gingerich Senators” include Rick Santorum, Jim Inhofe and Tom Corbett.

Theriault said he came to his conclusion by looking at roll call votes and who was sponsoring amendments, following Gingrich’s lead. His research went so far as to figure which senators participated in a secret Santa tradition and frequently appeared on Sunday morning talk show aimed at specific demographics.

“In both parties, 70 percent of members participated, but within this group of senators the number is 20 percent,” Theriault said.

UT government professor Brian Jones said he agreed with the book, and believes representatives serving with Gingrich in the House were later elected to the Senate, and brought with them a dimissive attitude from the House.

“This is a fine book bringing a very different perspective to legislative analysis,” Jones said. “It will be read and discussed by political scientists and any and all interested in American legislative politics.”

Theriault said in order for the United States to break away from the effect of the Gingrich Senators, the public needs to elect representatives who are problem solvers, rather than those who only have ideals that are similar to their own.

But not everyone believes the Senate has become more hyper-partisan. UT College Republicans President Danny Zeng said it comes down to perception. 

“The media defines what is more conservative and what is more liberal,” Zeng said. 

Theriault said he is currently working on a textbook about the role of the Tea Party in the United States.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich discusses future leadership challenges America will face at the LBJ Library Thursday evening. The lecture was followed by a question and answer session moderated by Dr. Jeremi Suri.

Photo Credit: Zachary Strain | Daily Texan Staff

While some students are concerned with the leadership challenges faced by candidates for the 2012 presidential election, Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, discussed Thursday the post-election leadership challenges America will face.

Gingrich spoke in the Lyndon B. Johnson Library atrium to discuss American exceptionalism, the need for new forms of strategic thinking and exceptional innovations that Americans can expect to see in the future. The lecture was followed by a Q-and-A session between the audience and Gingrich, moderated by Jeremi Suri, professor of the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Gingrich was Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999, and was a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.

Gingrich said though no other society in history has had the capacity to allow people to come from nowhere, America today faces intellectual challenges which individuals have not dealt with before. He said today’s youth will live to see advanced innovations in the fossil fuel industry, biology, computational power and productivity, all results of increased intellectual thinking.

“The United States remarks major and unique power,” Gingrich said. “One of the greatest challenges for us is how to look at the next 10 to 15 years. We have to figure out a way to be much tighter and mentally tougher regarding what is good research and what is not good research.”

Gingrich’s lecture is part of the LBJ School of Public Affairs’ effort to educate students on the various stances held by political parties and provoke the discussion of important issues. The school will also sponsor a lecture by John Kerry on Nov. 2 to provide students an opportunity to learn about the views held by the Democratic party.

Suri said the LBJ School of Public Affairs’ efforts should encourage students to vote.

“Voting is absolutely crucial,” Suri said. “By voting, a person is saying that they are a full citizen and adult. If you want to be involved and taken seriously, then vote. By not voting you are saying you are still a child and that you do not care to be taken seriously.”

Government senior Billy Calve, Hook the Vote director, said having speakers like Gingrich and Kerry on campus connects students with politics in a direct way.

“When we see political figures in person, we can better understand their perspectives, regardless of whether or not we agree with their policies,” Calve said. “The LBJ School is doing a terrific job of helping students learn about the political process just in time for early voting.”

John Kerry will speak at 2 p.m. on Nov. 2 in the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium.

Printed on October 26, 2012 as: Gingrich provides insight for voters

Republican presidental candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich pauses while announcing that he is suspending his presidential campaighn on Wednesday in Arlington, VA.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Va. — Newt Gingrich, the colorful former House speaker and fiery partisan, formally exited the Republican presidential contest Wednesday and vowed to help Mitt Romney’s bid to defeat President Barack Obama.

Ending a campaign that seesawed between implosion and frontrunner and back again, Gingrich threw his support to his one-time rival as expected and promised his supporters he would continue to push conservative ideas. Gingrich bowed out of the race more than $4 million in debt and his reputation perhaps damaged.

“Today, I am suspending the campaign. But suspending the campaign does not mean suspending citizenship,” Gingrich told a ballroom in a suburban Washington hotel.

“We are now going to put down the role of candidate and candidate’s spouse and take back the role of active citizens,” he said, adding he would continue to promote conservative ideas on college campuses, as well as through newsletters and films.

He also urged conservatives to rally behind Romney as a better alternative than Obama.

“This is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan. This is a choice between Mitt Romney and the most radical, leftist president in American history,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich saw extremes during his campaign. His senior staff resigned en masse last summer when Gingrich seemed unwilling to undertake a traditional campaign schedule of person-to-person campaigning and fundraising. Instead, he leaned on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as a steady stream of broadcast interviews he seemed to relish.

It seemed to work for a while. Gingrich plodded along with a proudly nontraditional campaign and strong debate performances. The showings helped him win in South Carolina — one of only two states he would win — but were insufficient to stave off Romney’s spending and organization in Florida. After Gingrich’s stinging January loss there, the always high-spending campaign seemed to sputter along while amassing enormous debt.

The campaign ended February with $1.5 million in the red but continued spending as though donors were coming.

The campaign now owes more than $1 million to Moby Dick Airways, the air charter company he used to ferry himself and his wife around the country, mixing campaign rallies with stops at zoos and historical sites. The campaign also owes the Patriot Security Group almost $450,000 for security services.

A raft of advertising agencies, consulting firms, pollsters, attorneys and former aides litter the list of those he owes money. He owes his former campaign manager, Michael Krull, more than $27,000. Top spokesman R.C. Hammond, who joined Gingrich at his final campaign event, is owed almost $4,000.

The campaign also owes JC Watts Enterprises — run by the former Republican representative from Oklahoma — some $35,000 for outreach to religious conservatives. Watts, who served in the House with Gingrich, endorsed his bid and vouched for the thrice-married admitted adulterer among skeptical social conservatives.

Gingrich’s campaign also owes members of the Gingrich family cash.

Gingrich himself is owed almost $272,000 and has already been reimbursed more than $514,000. His daughter is owed more than $6,000.

That’s not to say the Gingriches didn’t earn money along the way.

Gingrich Productions, which is run by wife Callista, was paid $67,000 last year. And Cushman Enterprises, run by his daughter Jackie Cushman, brought in more than $100,000 from the campaign.

As Gingrich was mulling an exit from the race, his aides were talking with Romney’s campaign about how his one-time rival could help him retire the debt. Romney’s team has offered to be helpful in that effort.

Printed on Thursday, May 3, 2012 as: Gingrich ends campaign, vows to help Romney

Candidates prepare for months, sometimes years, to get ready. They give interviews in front of huge crowds of people to gain support. Intense focus is allocated for raising money through sponsors to pay for supplies for the long journey ahead. Entire staffs of people dedicate themselves to image control and maintenance: all outfits are picked out, every hair is in place and more time is spent on grooming than ever before. The competitors go against each other until, one by one, they’re forced out. Eventually, only one winner will survive.

No, I’m not talking about the movie with the biggest opening weekend for a non-sequel, The Hunger Games. The seemingly post-apocalyptic future described above is actually a depiction of what’s going on in this year’s Republican presidential primary race. The original field of nine — Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney — has narrowed itself down to three contenders. Really it’s more like two because who still thinks Gingrich has a chance?

As soon as things got bloody at the Cornucopia, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump were some of the first to go. They spent too much time slinging barbs at everyone else and not enough enough time gaining supporters. Pawlenty is another one that was ousted early, much like the girl in the woods minding her own business that was killed by the Careers.

And then, there was one candidate that somehow seemed less clownish than the others, Huntsman. He came in with experience. He didn’t spend time going negative with attack ads. He seemed rational and was the great hope of the entire race. His loss in New Hampshire felt like watching the beloved Rue get stabbed in the chest with a spear all over again.

Bachmann is a good representation of the crazy girl with the knives in The Hunger Games that no one was sad to see leave. Cain was taken out by some tracker jackers — women he allegedly sexually harassed that swarmed and fought back from his past. Perry seemed like he had a good shot for awhile, but was eventually his own worst enemy and poisoned himself, like the berries that killed Foxface, with his constant missteps and blunders.

Paul is an iconoclast and distances himself from the rest, like Thresh’s technique to hide in the wheat field. Also, like Thresh, Paul has strength in his group of ardent supporters; however, it’s not enough to win the election. Gingrich then becomes Cato in this story. Just like Cato, he attacks all opponents and tries to bully his way to the top. Fortunately for all of us, we know the demons from his past, or muttations, will make sure he doesn’t make it much further.

And then we’re left with Romney and Santorum, or Peeta and Katniss. Romney, like Katniss, is the clear stronger candidate left. And just like Peeta and Katniss, can we really trust anything either one says? Or do they only say what they think will keep them alive longer in this Hunger Games style primary race? It’s for this reason that Santorum has made anti-college statements, even though when he was a Senator in 2006 he called for all Pennsylvania citizens to have access to higher education. It’s why Romney derides “Obamacare,” but instituted universal healthcare in Massachusetts, or Romneycare first. Both candidates say whatever they think will get them the most support at the time, and it’s unclear what either one actually believes.

So no matter who’s left at the end, does anyone really win? Or will the candidate be forever haunted by the transformation he underwent to survive this process? And what about the rest of us? Will we elect a hero or someone who can’t keep it together when things get tough like Katniss?

And if this is what the race for President has come down to, are we any better than the people of Panem that tune in to watch the Hunger Games every year rather than doing something to demand change?

Taylor is a Plan II and rhetoric and writing senior. 

WASHINGTON — Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich is refusing to ask the Justice Department to release thousands of records from the House Ethics Committee’s investigation into his conduct as speaker in the 1990s.

Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond likens the request from the open-government group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington to “wild goose chases.”

The organization asked the Justice Department to release documents forwarded from the House in 1997 after it investigated Gingrich’s use of tax-exempt organizations for political gain. The House committee never concluded whether tax laws were violated, and the Internal Revenue Service later cleared the organization involved.

Hammond said Wednesday the IRS was “exonerating every politically motivated charge.”

Gingrich agreed to pay $300,000 as reimbursement to taxpayers for the cost of probe.

Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry pauses while announcing he is suspending his campaign and endorsing Newt Gingrich, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, in North Charleston, S.C.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Rick Perry dropped out of the presidential race on Thursday, endorsed his old friend Newt Gingrich and returned home to Texas, where the failed White House candidate has three years left to serve as the chief executive.

“I have come to the conclusion that there is no viable path to victory for my candidacy in 2012,” Perry said in North Charleston, S.C., just two days before the primary there. “I believe Newt is a conservative visionary who can transform our country.”

Money also was a factor, with spokesman Ray Sullivan saying: “We have spent the bulk of our funds.” He added that Perry hasn’t ruled out running again for governor or the White House in 2016 if President Barack Obama is re-elected.

Perry ended his campaign where he launched it last August, when tea party and evangelical Christian leaders hailed him as a charismatic conservative and some early polls showed him as a front-runner for the Republican nomination. But soon after, Perry’s verbal gaffes and poor debate performances sent his campaign into a tailspin from which it never recovered.

It was too soon to tell whether Perry’s rocky turn on the national stage had damaged him politically at home. But already there were signs of his diminished clout.

Several Texas donors who fueled his bid indicated they were likely to back Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is considered to be the more moderate candidate in the race. And South Carolina House speaker David Wilkins, who had supported Perry, ignored the governor’s recommendation and shifted his support to Romney, too.

Short of a Gingrich victory leading to a job for Perry in Washington, Perry will most likely stay in Austin where, despite his dismal presidential campaign, he’s still considered the most powerful politician in the state. He has appointed more than 1,000 people to key government positions since becoming governor in 2000. State lawmakers also depend on his support.

But that doesn’t mean he won’t face serious headwinds.

Democrats insist the failed presidential run has diminished his power and embarrassed Texans. Conservatives also have complained about the $2.6 million the state has spent on his security detail while he campaigned outside the state. Top Republicans, meanwhile, have been positioning themselves to replace him whether he won the presidency or retired in 2014.

Roy Blount, a Perry supporter and deep-pocketed Republican donor in Texas, said he expects Perry to remain popular and powerful.

“Everything he stood for resonates with Texans,” Blount said. “He’s got this state as a leading state, and he wants to continue that and expand it.”

The Texas Democratic Party was ready Thursday to begin exploiting any perceived weakness created by Perry’s decision and called on him to focus on problems at home, including legal questions about the constitutionality of the school finance system, as well as water shortages and greenhouse gas emissions.

Perry’s biggest supporters, in turn, welcomed him home. Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business, said “Gov. Perry has always been good for Texas business.”

Mark Jones, chairman of the political science department at Rice University, said Perry risks becoming a lame-duck governor and must not rule out seeking a fourth term if he hopes to continue being effective.

“As long as he can maintain the illusion that he could be governor through 2019, that allows him to maintain authority not only among the legislators, but also among donors, lobbyists and his appointees,” Jones said.

Perry’s early missteps called into question whether the Texas politician, who had never lost a race in nearly 30 years, was ready for the national stage. His biggest flub came in a nationally televised debate in early November, when he could not remember the name of the third Cabinet department he pledged to eliminate.

Perry could only manage to say, “Oops.” Making fun of himself afterward, he told reporters: “I stepped in it.”

It was a cringe-inducing moment replayed more than a million times on YouTube. The memory lapse not only solidified Perry’s reputation for weak debate performances, but it gave the impression that he couldn’t articulate his own policies.

Perry, 61, was relatively unknown outside of Texas until he succeeded George W. Bush as governor after Bush was elected president in 2000. A former Democrat, Perry had already spent about 15 years in state government when he became governor. He went on to win election to the office three times, the most recent in 2010.

Part of Perry’s appeal came from his humble beginnings as a native of tiny Paint Creek, Texas. He graduated from Texas A&M University and was a pilot in the Air Force before winning election in 1984 to the Texas House of Representatives. He switched to the GOP in 1989 and served as the state’s agriculture commissioner before his election as lieutenant governor in 1998.


In Tuesday’s presidential debate, GOP candidate Newt Gingrich made a potential misstep when he called for “humane” immigration reform. The stance, which some claim is a form of amnesty, is attracting significant ire from the Republican rank-and-file. Gingrich’s proposal masquerades as a moderate position but in reality is a misguided attempt at reform that would undermine the economic potential of America’s undocumented immigrant population.

At the debate, Gingrich said he was “prepared to take the heat for saying ‘let’s be humane’ in enforcing the law.” The key concern seems to be for the plight of families in the immigration debate. Gingrich stated that he wishes to create a system of legality for those undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for more than 25 years and are established in the community. When Gingrich, the perpetual strategist, declared, “I don’t see how the [Republican] party that says it’s the party of the family [advocates for an immigration policy that destroys families],” he received a stoic reaction from the audience.

The controversial statement is being compared to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s famous assertion that if people didn’t support in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants to attend college, they “[didn’t] have a heart.” Perry’s refusal to abandon this position coupled with his “oops” moment a few weeks ago are cited as the key reasons for his precipitous fall from grace. Perry, once the front-runner, is now polling in the single digits.

Gingrich’s opponents have derided his call for compassion, so similar to Perry’s, by latching onto the polarizing rhetoric that often accompanies immigration. Representative Michele Bachmann said that Gingrich’s plan “equates to amnesty,” and Gov. Mitt Romney similarly labeled it “a new doorway to amnesty.” Though certainly different from the norm, Gingrich’s plan is hardly the sweeping measure of fundamental reform that it purports to be.

The Gingrich path to immigration reform has been rightfully criticized for advocating a “red card solution.” This position, so-named by the conservative Krieble Foundation, allows some immigrants to enter the country temporarily to work without the rights or privileges of citizens. The red card solution creates a dangerous “limbo” status for undocumented foreigners. Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center, affirmed that “it virtually guarantees that we create second-class status for workers and their families — lawful but with no real rights,” according to The Washington Post.

Perhaps most disturbing is the flippant manner in which Gingrich proposes “earned” citizenship for young immigrants. Outside of military service, there is no way listed for undocumented teenagers — many of whom had no choice in illegally entering America in the first place — to obtain citizenship. College education, apparently, is not a significant enough way to contribute to society.

Gingrich is not alone in his myopic view of the role young immigrants play in the social and economic construct of the American system. The Republican Party seems set on a disturbingly hypocritical immigration stance as it relates to students. Many GOP candidates simultaneously avow increased visa access for high-skilled immigrants from overseas but refuse to educate the immigrants within America’s own borders.

This convoluted sense of justice ensures that immigrants will never be able to become high-skilled taxpayers by locking them in perpetual illegality. The distinction is infuriating for young immigrants who are immutably left with the choices their parents made. The military is an admirable choice, but it is not the path for everyone. Try as they might, these motivated teenagers are being prevented by political posturing from bettering themselves through education.

Perry may have been blasted for granting in-state tuition to immigrants, but his economic foresight is sound. An educated workforce composed of immigrants has historically proven itself as the best investment America can make. Immigrants comprise a growing force that represents everything positive about the American dream.

Somewhere along the way, Gingrich and his Republican peers have lost the true meaning of that dream and of American exceptionalism. Though the image of America as a “melting pot” may be trite, it is accurate. Politicians do a great disservice to the American people by marginalizing immigrants in these troubled economic times. If we continue to denigrate our youngest generation of immigrants as a worthless drain on society, we risk losing their economic potential — and that’s not a gamble worth making.

Katsounas is a government and finance sophomore.

URBANDALE, Iowa — Rising in polls and receiving greater scrutiny, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich found himself on the defensive Wednesday over huge payments he received over the past decade from the mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

Gingrich, who now is near the top in polling on the GOP race, said he didn’t remember exactly how much he was paid, but a person familiar with the hiring said it was at least $1.6 million for consulting contracts stretching from 1999 to early 2008. The person spoke on condition of anonymity in order address a personnel matter.

Long unpopular among Republicans, federally backed Freddie Mac and its larger sister institution, Fannie Mae, have become targets for criticism stemming from the housing crisis that helped drive the nation deep into recession and then hampered recovery. Gingrich himself criticized Barack Obama in 2008 for accepting contributions from executives of the two companies.

Speaking with reporters in Iowa on Wednesday, Gingrich said he provided “strategic advice for a long period of time” after he resigned as House speaker following his party’s losses in the 1998 elections. He defended Freddie Mac’s role in housing finance and said, “every American should be interested in expanding housing opportunities.”

On Tuesday, a House committee voted to strip top executives of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae of huge salaries and bonuses and to put them on the same pay scale as federal employees. After disastrous losses, both companies were taken over by the government in 2008, and since then a federal regulator has controlled their financial decisions.

During the 2008 campaign, Gingrich suggested in a Fox News interview that presidential candidate Obama should return contributions he had received from executives of the two companies. He said that in a debate with Obama, GOP presidential nominee John McCain “should have turned and said, ‘Senator Obama, are you prepared to give back all the money that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae gave you?’”
Gingrich sought Wednesday to portray his history with Freddie Mac as a sign of valuable experience.

“It reminds people that I know a great deal about Washington,” he said. “We just tried four years of amateur ignorance, and it didn’t work very well. So having someone who actually knows Washington might be a really good thing.”

At least one of his rivals assailed him over the matter.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s $300,000 or $2 million, the point is the money that was taken by Newt Gingrich was taken to influence Republicans in Congress to be in support of Fannie and Freddie,” Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann said in a telephone interview. “While Newt was taking money from Fanny and Freddie I was fighting against them.”

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy home loans from banks and other lenders, package them into bonds with a guarantee against default and then sell them to investors around the world. The two own or guarantee about half of all U.S. mortgages.

Gingrich’s history at Freddie Mac began in 1999, when he was hired by the company’s top lobbyist, Mitchell Delk. He was brought in for strategic consulting, primarily on legislative and regulatory issues, the company said at the time. That job, which paid about $30,000 a month, lasted until sometime in 2002.

In 2006, Gingrich was hired again on a two-year contract that paid him $300,000 annually, again to provide strategic advice while the company fended off attacks from the right wing of the Republican Party.

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for years had been under scrutiny from Republicans on Capitol Hill who opposed government involvement in the mortgage business and wanted to scale back the companies’ size and impose tough regulation.

In last Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate, Gingrich sought to explain his role at Freddie Mac as that of a “historian” sounding dire warnings about the company’s future.

Former executives dispute Gingrich’s description of his role.

Four people close to Freddie Mac say he was hired to strategize with his employer about identifying political friends on Capitol Hill who would help the company through a very difficult legislative environment. All four spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss the personnel matter freely.

Before he resigned from Congress, Gingrich was working off debt he had taken on while he was in public life. He had been paying $1,000 per month to an ex-wife in alimony and more for child support and college for two daughters, according to divorce records and financial disclosure forms. The former House speaker also had been fined $300,000 for giving misleading information to investigators during a congressional ethics probe, which he paid off in 1999.

Gingrich’s contract with Freddie Mac in 1999 came at the start of his most profitable years. He earned up to $50,000 for speaking engagements, signed radio and TV deals and started his own consulting firm, The Gingrich Group, all of which brought in income. Gingrich had a net worth of at least $6.7 million last year, according to disclosure documents.

Printed on Thursday, November 17, 2011 as: Gingrich defends big contracts with unpopular mortgage giant

ATLANTA — Republican candidate Newt Gingrich is decrying media coverage of the sexual harassment claims against rival Herman Cain and says that Cain’s tax plans deserve more attention.

Gingrich has told WSB radio in Atlanta on Wednesday that he thinks it’s “disgusting” that the news media has started what Gingrich described as a “witch hunt” against Cain. It was revealed this week that Cain’s former employer, the National Restaurant Association, settled in the 1990s with two women who claimed that Cain had sexually harassed them.

A third woman has told The Associated Press that she considered filing a sexual harassment complaint but never did.

Gingrich says Cain is trying to help a country that’s in trouble and has gotten more coverage for what Gingrich termed gossip than for Cain’s tax policies.

Candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry answers a question as candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney listens during a Republican presidential candidate debate at the Reagan Library on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — Eager to tangle, Republican presidential rivals Rick Perry and Mitt Romney each laid claim to a better job-creating record as governor Wednesday night in a lively campaign debate that marked a new turn in the race to pick a 2012 challenger to President Barack Obama.

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

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

The debate was the first of three in as many weeks, at a time the polls show Obama’s popularity sinking.

Perry and Romney stood next to each other on the debate stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, a symbolic setting that invoked the memory of the conservative Republican who swept to two terms as president.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman sided with Perry when he turned to Romney and said, “47th just isn’t going to cut it, my friend,” a reference to the rank Massachusetts had among the 50 states in creating jobs during Romney’s term.

Businessman Herman Cain, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania shared the stage for the debate hosted by MSNBC and Politico.

Bachmann said she would provide the “strong, bold leader in the presidency who will lead that effort. None of us should ever think that the repeal bill will just come to our desk,” she said in a pledge that drew applause from the audience.

Gingrich resisted an effort to draw him into conflict with other Republicans on stage. “I’m frankly not interested in your efforts to get Republicans fighting each other,” he said, sparking an even louder round of applause. He said all Republicans should “defeat efforts by the news media” to spark an internal struggle when the real objective is to defeat Obama in 2012.

But moments later, Cain said that after trying to defeat Democratic efforts to create national health care, “I’m running against Romneycare,” the legislation that passed requiring residents of Massachusetts to purchase coverage.