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The Republican debate in South Carolina featured Mitt Romney in the hot seat, as his opponents condemned his record at Bain Capitol and called for the former businessman to release his income tax records.
Romney said he would do so — in April. But GOP rivals urged him to make the information public immediately.
“We need to satisfy the country that whoever we nominate has a record that can stand up to Barack Obama in a very effective way,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry also needled Romney on his history of layoffs at Bain, a corporate restructuring firm. (Romney insisted Bain’s involvement in several companies resulted in 120,000 jobs.) Gingrich, meanwhile, defended his decision to endorse campaign attack aids on Romney.
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The debate, which aired Monday night on Fox News Monday, spurred a humorous reaction from Twitter pundits. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert — or, the comedian’s conservative ultra ego — wrote: “Legally, Stephen can’t stop Jon Stewart from airing an ad that calls @MittRomney a serial killer.” He attached a link to this anti-Romney spot from a “shadowy group calling intself the Definitely Not Coordinating with Stephen Colbert Super PAC.”
Filmmaker Michael Moore — whose documentaries appeared to be inspiration for a controversial pro-Gingrich film dubbed “When Mitt Romney Comes to Town” — responded in a cheeky post on the social-networking site.
“Mitt Romney is discussing me, post-debate, on Fox,” he said. “Will sleep on it & respond in the morning. Spoiler alert: Newt & me sitting in a tree… .”
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Mocking Romney’s corporate-efficiency persona, political news pundit Ana Marie Cox tweeted: “Mitt Romney likes to be able to fire debate moderators who provide him services to him.”
Said TV journalist David Schuster: “Romney hiding tax return because it likely shows a 15% rate on his Bain fortune…and millions in the Caymans.” And Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough, seemingly sincere, noted: “Mitt Romney has had a lot of great debate performances. Last night was not one of them.”
Last, but definitely not least, President Obama chimed in, too.
“How many jobs did Mitt Romney create as a corporate buyout specialist? Even he can’t get his story straight,” he said, linking to a report about the ex-Massachusetts governor’s job creation claims on the official Obama-Biden re-election website.
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