Romney Focus of Challengers at Republican Debate

Posted January 8th, 2012 at 12:55 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney endured criticism from fellow contenders for the Republican Party's nomination during Saturday's televised debate in New Hampshire, just days before that northeastern state's primary election.

Romney, the leading candidate for the nomination, was attacked by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, who are running as more conservative alternatives to Romney. But the former Massachusetts governor ignored his opponents and focused his criticism on the Democratic incumbent, President Barack Obama.

Romney said Mr. Obama's economic policies “have made the recession deeper” and the recovery “more tepid.”

The 3 other remaining Republican candidates — U.S. Representative Ron Paul, Texas Governor Rick Perry and former U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman — spent much of the debate criticizing each other's credentials as much as they attacked Romney.

The six Republican contenders will participate in another nationally televised debate Sunday .

Romney narrowly defeated Santorum in last week's Iowa caucus, and holds a huge lead in voter opinion polls in New Hampshire. But he faces a more difficult challenge in the more conservative southern state of South Carolina, which holds its primary on January 21.