The hottest sparks by far came from the bracing exchanges between Perry and Romney, as they sparred over immigration and health care.
At one point, the two nearly shouted to try to talk over one another, and Romney actually placed his left hand on Perry’s right shoulder and said, “Are you just going to keep talking, or are you going to let me finish with my -- what I have to say?”T
“You have a problem,” an agitated Romney said to Perry a few moments later, “with allowing someone to finish speaking.”
Romney was flustered, but Perry was momentarily cowed in the face of his rival’s aggression. He allowed Romney to win the battle for the mic. That may not have been a loss if it revealed a less flattering side of Romney.
The audience rebuked Texas governor Rick Perry when he got testy with the moderator, popular CNN host Anderson Cooper.
"Governor Perry, the 14th Amendment allows anybody -- a child of illegal immigrants who is born here is automatically an American citizen," Cooper asked Perry. "Should that change?"
"Well, let me address Herman's issue that he just talked about," Perry said.
"Actually, I'd rather you answer that question," Cooper told him.
"I understand that. You get to ask the questions, I get to answer like I want to," Perry said, prompting boos from the audience. "And Herman talked about --"
"That's actually a response," corrected Cooper. "That's not an answer, but go ahead."
Palin did not always like the tone of the debate. "So when the debate started, a couple minutes into the debate, my kids started walking through the door after school and after play dates, and they're kind of griping and bickering amongst each other, then the debate in my other ear, the candidates are up there bickering and fighting amongst each other. And I honestly for a minute or two there didn't know which group I be listening to and which group was making more sense," she said. "Thankfully, the candidates kind of calmed down and started talking more about detailing the things that -- serious -- an electorate that is very serious in these serious times needs to hear."
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