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Asked about his record at Bain Capital, Mitt Romney that “not every business succeeds.” But, rather than a weakness, Romney said this was part of the real world, and President Obama doesn’t know how the real world works: ‘I myself have had the chance to lead four organizations. In the real world, some things don’t make it. We closed factories and jobs to save the business. I’ve learned the lessons of how the economy worked.’

If Romney wins the nomination, this is, as he said himself, how he will counter attacks about his record as a venture capitalist.

At the Fox News debate, Jon Huntsman pitched himself a straight-shooter, in some creative language.

Huntsman said he was a consistent conservative, that he was “not gonna contort myself into a pretzel to please any audience,” and also that he was “not gonna show up at a Donald Trump debate.”

The mention of the recent failed effort to hold a debate hosted by Donald Trump, the noted businessman, media celebrity and birther activist, was greeted with some applause in the audience. Only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum had accepted the invitation, with all other candidates turning it down.

Huntsman also referred to gridlock in Washington spending debates, and the looming threat of another government shutdown: “We are getting screwed as Americans!”

Asked in the Fox News debate if he could stand up to President Obama, Perry replied: ‘I’m getting to like these debates. I’ll debate Obama and I’ll get there early. I’ll talk about what we did in texas.’

Perry then compared himself to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, someone who people doubted but has been successful: ‘Tebow won two national championships. We’re the national champions in job creation. I hope we’re the Tebow of the Iowa caucuses.’

At the Fox News debate, Rick Santorum was asked what it would take for his underdog campaign to succeed.

“Well I’m counting on the people of Iowa to catch fire for me,” said Santorum. “That’s what this plan was about from Day One, to go to all 99 counties,” and holding over 300 town halls.

Also during his remarks, he contrasted himself with current frontrunner Newt Gingrich: “The Speaker had a conservative revolution against him when he was Speaker of the House. I had conservatives knocking down my door.”

As part of his case that he’ll be an effective nominee, Newt Gingrich claims he has spent time – among other things – teaching “the art of war” to one and two star generals. Unclear whether he means that as written or with capital letters, ie – “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. His online bio says, “For over two decades, Gingrich has taught at the United States Air Force’s Air University, where he is the longest-serving teacher of the Joint Flag Officer Warfighting Course.” This PBS site also lists Gingrich as reading this Sun Tzu audiobook.

Host Bret Baier noted that in all the tweets and emails Fox News received before the debate, electability was a major theme.

The first question goes to Newt, on his electability.

The final debate before the Iowa caucuses in which all candidates will be on stage is now airing on Fox News. TPM will be bringing it to you blow by blow in the livewire, and Josh Marshall will be blogging in the Editor Blog.

Newt Gingrich said today that the tougher times in his life (you know...those times) made his life similar to that of a nurse.

America's Registered Nurses beg to differ.

Read More →

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