CNN and the Tea Party Express hosted a Republican presidential debate Monday night at the State Fairgrounds in Tampa. Here's a look at how the candidates did:
Breaking down the GOP presidential debate in Tampa
© 2017 Tampa Bay Times
Breaking down the debate
|The candidate||Quote||Best moment||Biggest misstep||Rating the performance|
|Michele Bachmann, 55|
U.S. representative from Minnesota since 2007. Married with five children, 23 foster children.
|On illegal immigration: "The American way is not to give taxpayer-subsidized benefits to people who broke our laws."||Questioning Perry's motivation for signing an executive order requiring young girls to receive a vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV), suggesting it was to help a campaign donor.||Failing to show herself as a strong tea party alternative to Perry.||Effectively made her point that she has been a strong voice for repealing federal health care law and fighting against raising the debt ceiling.|
|Herman Cain, 65|
and president of Godfather's Pizza; professional author, speaker.
Married with two children.
|On being an outsider: "People say you don't know how Washington works. Yes I do. It doesn't."||Presenting specific proposals for cutting health care costs and showing humor.||Suggesting that a regulatory review commission be stacked with people who have been "abused by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)."||Good performance. But still not top tier.|
|On the Perry/Romney fight about Social Security: "I'm not particularly worried about Gov. Perry or Gov. Romney frightening the American people when President Obama scares them every single day."||Stealing a moment away from Perry and Romney in the middle of their debate-inside-a-debate about whether Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.||Answering a question about taxes with position on energy independence.||Can deliver applause lines, but not sure why he's running.|
|Jon Huntsman, 51|
Former U.S. ambassador to China; former governor of Utah. Married with seven children.
|On illegal immigration: "For Rick (Perry) to say you can't secure the border is pretty much a treasonous comment."||Touting his record leading Utah.||Asking if Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain ghost-wrote Gov. Romney's book, No Apology, a pop-culture reference probably lost on tea party crowd.||Not the crowd's cup of tea.|
|Ron Paul , 76|
U.S. representative from Texas; retired medical doctor. Married with five children, including U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
|On ways to reduce spending: "We spend $1.5 trillion overseas in wars that we don't need to be in, and we need to cut there and then put this money back into our economy here."||Saying that as a Texas resident, his taxes doubled with Perry as governor.||Getting booed while trying to explain why America should accept some blame for the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attacks.||Performance showed precisely why so many people like him — and why it's so difficult to see him winning the nomination.|
|Rick Perry, 61|
Governor of Texas since 2000; former Air Force pilot; former cotton and wheat farmer. Married with two children.
|On his plan as president: "I will use an executive order to get rid of as much of Obamacare as I can on Day 1."||Shooting back against Romney's attacks on his Social Security stance.||Saying he cannot be bought for a $5,000 donation. It begs the question: Is there a higher purchase price?||Nobody knocked him off stride, and they sure did try. A friendly crowd helped him along.|
|Mitt Romney, 64|
Former governor of Massachusetts; founded Bain Capital, a venture capital firm. Married with five children.
|On Perry's jobs record in Texas: "If you're dealt four aces, it doesn't make you a great poker player."||Challenging Perry on his position on Social Security with direct questions.||Not landing any knockout blows on Perry.||A tea party audience isn't Romney's best crowd. Had to play a little more defense than he probably wanted.|
|Rick Santorum, 53|
Former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania; former U.S. representative. Married with seven children.
|On President Barack Obama's economic record: "Some people say that Barack Obama's economy is a disaster. My feeling is it would have to be dramatic improvement just to be a disaster."||Attacking Perry for requiring HPV vaccine; saying it's "government run amok."||Failing to distinguish himself on a stage filled with more interesting characters.||Made the argument he could win in a blue state (Pennsylvania). But do GOP primary voters care?|