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Deep in the midst of a heated exchange between Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney on Romneycare, members of the debate audience booed Santorum for not allowing Romney to respond.

Rick Santorum said: “Believe it or not, studies have been done that in Western Europe, people at the lower rungs of the income ladder actually have a higher chance of going up than we have. And that’s because we’ve lost our manufacturing.”

Santorum then put forward his proposed tax breaks for manufacturing businesses, which he said could restore that upward mobility to America.

The GOP presidential candidates are debating in Las Vegas. The candidates came out swinging at Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. Here’s a snapshot of the debate:

Perhaps indicating how she’s fallen as a candidate, Bachmann struggles to fit all her economic thoughts into a concise period of time. However, she does manage to repeat her earlier flub that she’d go back to the Reagan tax code (even though the rate was higher then). She ends: “President Obama’s plan has been a plan for the destruction of this economy,” and then plugs her website.

Cain keeps talking about “apples and oranges” in terms of trying to describe the difference between his tax plan and the version of it being sold by his opponents. Romney replies, “I’ll need a basket with both apples and oranges, as I’ll be paying both under this plan.”

Herman Cain was asked at the debate about criticism that his “9-9-9” tax plan would regressively raise taxes on lower-income workers.

“The thing that I would encourage people to do before they engage in this knee-jerk reaction is just read our analysis. It is available at,” Cain said, touting his campaign’s commissioned financial analysis, and denying that it would raise taxes on lower-income workers.

“The reason that our plan is being attacked so much is because lobbyists, accountants, politicians, they don’t want to throw out the current tax code and put in something that’s simple and fair,” Cain added.

“They want to be able to continue to manipulate the American people with a 10-million word mess. Let’s throw out the 10-million word mess and put in a plan that will liberate American worker sand liberate American workers.”

Within the first few minutes they’ve turned on Herman Cain. He dismisses the charges that he’s in essence calling for VAT or that low-income earners will wind up paying more. He suggests people go to his website to find out more. However, at the time of writing, that site appears to have crashed.

Bachmann opens by proclaiming, “This is one night where I hope what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas!”