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Debate fireworks: Perry, Romney spar vigorously on jobs in Republican presidential faceoff
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) ' Eager to tangle, Republican presidential rivals Rick Perry and Mitt Romney each laid claim to a better job-creating record as governor Wednesday night in a campaign debate that marked a new turn in the race to pick a challenger to President Barack Obama next year.
"Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt," Perry jabbed, referring to Romney's predecessor as Democratic governor in Massachusetts.
"As a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessors created jobs at a faster rate than you did," Romney shot back at Perry, the newcomer to the race who has quickly laid claim to the front-runner;'s mantle.
The debate was the first of three in as many weeks, at a time the polls show Obama's popularity sinking, possibly making the GOP nomination worth more than it appeared only a few months ago.