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Tea Party debate provides surprising moments

by Adam Russett on September 13, 2011

The second of three Republican debates was held in Florida last night, and while it was Mitt Romney and Rick Perry who were once again at the forefront, one moment involving Ron Paul stuck out the most.

CNN newsman and debate moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Paul whether or not an employed but uninsured, 30-year-old patient who was in a coma should be left to die because he has no coverage. Before he could give a clear answer, a number of people in the audience screamed out "Yeah!" followed by cheers.

This marks the second time in two weeks when audience members at the GOP seemingly applauded death. Last week, moderator Brian Williams went over Perry's execution record as Texas governor, eliciting applause.

As for the rest of the debate, almost all of the candidates turned their attention toward attacking Perry, who has become a quick frontrunner since entering the race. In particular, Michele Bachmann led the charge against Perry, questioning his stance on mandatory HPV vaccinations, The Huffington Post reports.

"To have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat out wrong," she told the governor. "That should never be done. That's a violation of a liberty interest."

Once again, there was a significant back and forth between Perry and Romney, the two presumptive favorites for the GOP nomination. While last week they sparred over job creation, this time Social Security was at issue.

Romney questioned Perry's framing of the 80-year-old program as a Ponzi scheme, but Perry didn't step back from the somewhat inflammatory language and characterized Social Security as a broken system.

At the heart of the debate was each candidate trying to appeal to the Tea Party, who hosted the event. Many, including Bachmann and Herman Cain, vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

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