It was probably Mitt Romney's worst debate so far, if only because Rick Perry wrested him from his seat of calm, cool, collected and reasonable, and thrust him into the dueling ring of anger.
Really, the exchange between the two was a sight to behold. And ... long in coming?
The confrontation came when Perry accused Romney of being the height of hypocrisy when it comes to his stand on immigration, accusing the former Massachusetts governor of hiring illegal immigrants to mow his lawn.
But instead of breaking it down for you, you can watch the clip below and read a transcript of the exchange:
Rick Perry: Those people who hire illegals ought to be penalized, and Mitt, you lose all of your standing from my perspective because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year and the idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you're strong on immigration is on it's face the height of hypocrisy.
Mitt Romney: [laughs] Rick, I don't think I've ever hired an illegal in my life and so I'm looking forward to finding your facts on that because that just-
Rick Perry: I'll tell you what-
Mitt Romney: Rick again-
Rick Perry: I'll tell you the truth, the newspaper-
Mitt Romney: I'm speaking! I'm speaking! I'm speaking! I'm speaking! You get 30 seconds-
Rick Perry: It's time for you to tell the truth-
Mitt Romney: This is the way the rules work, is that I get 60 seconds-
Rick Perry: No but the American people want the truth-
Mitt Romney: -and then you get 30 seconds to respond. Anderson?! Would you please, would you please wait? Are you just going to keep talking- are you going to let me finish what I have to say?
Anderson Cooper: I thought Republicans followed the rules-
Mitt Romney: This has been a tough couple of debates for Rick and I understand that so you're going to get testy, but lets let, I'll tell you what- let me take my time and then you can take your time.
Rick Perry: Have at it.
Mitt Romney: My time is this. I have, in my, state when I was governor, I took the action of empowering our state police to enforce immigration laws. When you were governor, you said 'I don't want to build a fence'. You put in place a magnet- you talk about magnets- you put in place a magnet to draw illegals into the state which was giving $100,000 of tuition credit to illegals who come into this country. And then you have states- the big states of illegal immigrants are California and Florida. Over the last 10 years, they've had no increase in illegal immigration.Texas has had 60 per cent increase in illegal immigration in Texas. If there's someone who has a record as governor with regards to illegal immigration who doesn't stand up to muster, it's you, not me.
Rick Perry: You stood here in front of the American people and did not tell the truth- that you had illegals working on your property and the newspaper came to you and brought it to your attention and you still, a year later, had those individuals working for you. The idea that you can sit here and talk about any of us having immigration issue is beyond me. I've got a strong policy: I've always been against amnesty. You on the other hand were for amnesty.
Mitt Romney: You wrote an op-ed in the newspaper saying you open to amnesty, that's number one. Number two, we hired a lawn company to mow our lawn and they had illegal immigrants that were working there and when that was pointed out to us, we let them go-
Rick Perry: A year later?
Mitt Romney: You have a problem with allowing someone to finish speaking, and what i would suggest, and if you want to become President of the United States, you've gotta let both people speak, so let me speak. So we went to the company and we said 'Look, you can't have any illegals working on my property. I'm running for office for Pete's sake! I can't have illegals.' It turns out they, once again, they had someone who had falsified their documents, had documents, and therefore we fired them. Let me tell ya, it is hard in this country, as an individual home owner, to know if people who are contractors working at your home, if they've hired people that are illegal. If I'm President we'll put in place an e-verify system, which you've opposed, to makes sure we can find out who's here legally and not and crack down on people who are here illegally.