The Republicans aren't playing nice anymore.
The back and forth between the Texas Governor Rick Perry and the former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, which began at last week's debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, continued Monday in Tampa, Fla. at the Republican debate, co-hosted by CNN and the Tea Party Express.
Romney, who is trying to catch up in the polls, lashed out at Perry about social security, which the Texas governor recently called a Ponzi Scheme.
Does the governor continue to believe, as he said in his book, that it shouldn't be a federal program? Romney asked, according to the New York Post.
It has been called a Ponzi scheme by many people long before me, Perry replied, continuing by saying that the program remained a guarantee for those aged 55 and older.
Once again, Perry's job record came up in the debate, and Romney tried to downplay the governor's role, pointing to the fact that Texas had a lot of oil, no income tax and a Republican-controlled legislature.
If you're dealt four aces, that doesn't necessarily make you a great poker player, Romney said.
Other participants in the debate included Rep. Michelle Bachmann, Rep. Ron Paul, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former ambassador and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former Sen. Rick Santorum and former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain. For Bachmann, the stakes of the debate are high. She is trying to fight her way back into becoming a top-tier candidate after Perry stole her thunder when he announced he was running last month.
Bachmann went after Perry's support for mandating the HPV vaccine for young teenage girls, according to Politico.
To have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just wrong, Bachmann said. Little girls who have a negative reaction to this potentially dangerous drug don't get a mulligan.
Bachmann then tried to make a link between Merck, the provider of the vaccine, and Perry.
There was a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate, Bachmann said. The governor's former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company.
I raised $30 million and if you're saying I can be bought for $5,000, I'm offended, Perry retorted.
Fortunately for Bachmann, she was greeted by a supportive crowd: The Tea Party. According to CNN, she mentioned that she founded the Tea Party caucus in the House of Representatives, and she was a fierce opponent of raising the debt ceiling.
Not everyone was going on the offensive, Politico notes. When asked how to deal with entitlements, Huntsman said, I don't think anything should be off the table except maybe some of the drama that's been on this floor today.