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Sparks Fly in GOP Vegas Debate

Sparks Fly in GOP Vegas Debate

Is it surprising that Las Vegas inspired the closest thing we've seen to a brawl in the Republican debates?

Perhaps not. Candidates pounced on Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry engaged in a testy exchange over undocumented workers hired by the former, and Rick Santorum attacked the social conservative cred of the frontrunners from his sidelined podium perch.

The debate, hosted by CNN and the Western Republican Leadership Conference, did not include direct questions on LGBT issues, though Santorum tried to steer an immigration query to highlight his own anti-marriage equality views. The former Pennsylvania senator, who in recent days has attacked Herman Cain's stated opposition to a federal marriage amendment, attempted to play to the Latino voter bloc:

"There's a lot going on right now that's eroding our religious freedom, that's eroding the traditional values of marriage and family, and there's one candidate up here who consistently sounds that theme," Santorum said. (Think Progress has video of the remarks here.)

NYT has a recap of the debate here.

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