Romney, Perry Spar Early Over Job Records

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September 7, 2011 4:38 p.m.

Expectations were high that Rick Perry’s first debate would feature some fireworks and so far it has not disappointed. Romney and Perry mixed it up almost immediately with a pointed exchange over job creation in their respected states.

Texas has seen more job growth than the nation at large since the recession, a central selling point for Perry that he brought up in his first answer. “What Americans are looking for is someone who can get people working again,” he said. “If you look at what we’ve done over the last decade, we’ve created 1 million jobs in the state of Texas the same time America lost 2.5 million jobs.”He then pivoted from a surprise attack on Romney, saying Texas has created more jobs in just a few months than Romney’s entire time as governor.

Romney was ready, replying that the comparison was unfair given that Texas had abundant oil resources and a Republican legislature to help pass a conservative agenda.

“Governor Perry doesn’t believe that he created those things,” Romney said. “If he tried to say that it would be like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet.”

Jon Huntsman, the only other governor on stage, chimed in to note that the same study cited onstage showing Massachusetts 47th in job creation during Romney’s time as governor showed Utah was ranked number 1.

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