Perry hopes that invoking Tebow, who talks openly about his Christian faith and is a hero to many social conservatives, will have particular appeal among many Iowa Republicans.
Rep. Ron Paul, who is a threat in Iowa, also found himself under attack Thursday, with Bachmann leading the charge against him over his posture toward Iran. Paul has consistently argued against U.S. intervention abroad and for ending the war in Afghanistan and raised questions about taking a provocative stance against Iran.
Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich argued over Gingrich's relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at the Republican debate in Iowa.
Thursday’s GOP debate transcript and candidate breakdown.
“It’s another Iraq coming,” Paul said. “It’s war propaganda coming. To me, the greatest danger is we will have a president who will overreact.”
At that, Bachmann said: “With all due respect to Ron Paul, I think I have never heard a more dangerous answer for American security than the one that we just heard from Ron Paul.” She added: “The reason why I would say that is because we know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Iran will take a nuclear weapon. They will use it to wipe our ally Israel off the face of the map, and they’ve stated they will use it against the United States of America.”
Romney tried to project similar strength by sharply criticizing Obama’s handling of Iran’s capture of a U.S. spy drone as overly timid. Romney said the president’s posture invites aggression, even war, on the part of America’s enemies.
“This is a president with the spy drone being brought down, he says pretty please?” Romney said. “A foreign policy based on pretty please? You got to be kidding.”
Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr. sought to make a virtue out of the independent streak he has shown as a candidate, while arguing that he is reliably conservative. “I am the consistent conservative in this race,” he said. “They are coming around to find that I am not going to pander. I am not going to contort myself into a pretzel to please any audience I’m in front of. And I’m not going to sign those silly pledges.”
The debate, the 13th of the year among Republican candidates, was held at the Sioux City Convention Center and hosted by Fox News and the Iowa Republican Party.