Fiery charges: Romney, Santorum assail each other

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Associated Press

Posted on February 22, 2012 at 11:06 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 23 at 9:04 AM

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have traded verbal punches about health care, spending earmarks and federal bailouts in what might have been the final Republican presidential candidates' debate.

Santorum, who has surged in the polls, got booed when he talked about voting for the No Child Left Behind law even though he opposed it.

With pivotal primaries in Arizona and Michigan just six days away, with 10 more contests a week later, Romney and Santorum sparred more aggressively than in past debates, sometimes talking over each other's answers.

All four Republicans, including Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, attacked President Barack Obama for his handling of Iran and its attempt to develop a nuclear program.

All four also opposed the federal bailout of the auto industry in 2008 and 2009.

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324-a-21-(Congressman Ron Paul, R-Texas, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, at candidate debate)-"Mr. Speaker. Cheerful. (laughter fades)"-The Republican presidential candidates are asked to describe themselves in one word. COURTESY: CNN Arizona Republican Presidential Debate ((mandatory on-air credit)) ((note length of cut)) (22 Feb 2012)

<<CUT *324 (02/22/12)>> 00:21 "Mr. Speaker. Cheerful. (laughter fades)"

321-a-10-(Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, at candidate debate)-"1996, for Obamacare"-Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum argue over President Barack Obama's health care plan and its resemblance to the Massachusetts plan enacted by Romney. COURTESY: CNN Arizona Republican Presidential Debate ((mandatory on-air credit)) (22 Feb 2012)

<<CUT *321 (02/22/12)>> 00:10 "1996, for Obamacare"

323-a-17-(Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, at candidate debate)-"to underwrite 'Romneycare'''-Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum challenges Mitt Romney on the structure of the Massachusetts health care plan, enacted when Romney was governor. COURTESY: CNN Arizona Republican Presidential Debate ((mandatory on-air credit)) ((note length of cut)) (22 Feb 2012)

<<CUT *323 (02/22/12)>> 00:17 "to underwrite 'Romneycare'"

322-a-16-(Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, at candidate debate)-"way to go"-Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney says the health care plan he drafted for Massachusetts isn't like the plan that President Barack Obama has put in place. COURTESY: CNN Arizona Republican Presidential Debate ((mandatory on-air credit)) (22 Feb 2012)

<<CUT *322 (02/22/12)>> 00:16 "way to go"

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