The latest GOP Presidential debate held by ABC News was reportedly the most-watched debate so far in the 2012 election season, many of the first-time debate viewers likely saw a discussion much different than earlier debates.
According to The Wrap, if the number of debate viewers is any indicator, Americans are paying more attention to the 2012 GOP election as the first round of primaries draws near. About 7.6 million people tuned in to watch the candidates discuss the country’s most pressing issues and their plans for improvement.
Newt Gingrich’s rising popularity over the past several weeks appeared to make him a clear target for the other candidates during the Saturday debate.
Representative Ron Paul of Texas ripped Gingrich for earning $1.8 million as a consultant for the government mortgage giant Freddie Mac, which many conservatives have blamed for the housing price crash, saying that Gingrich was paid with “taxpayer money.”
In a moment that drew laughs from the audience and other candidates, Gingrich said he did not lobby for Freddie Mac but provided “strategic advice” during time that he worked in the “private sector.”
“You get to charge money for that,” Gingrich said. “It’s called free enterprise.”
Mitt Romney has drawn criticism because of his offer of a $10,000 bet to Rick Perry that the Texas governor could not prove that he had altered a portion of his book that discussed healthcare mandates. Many have said the offer is proof of Romney’s wealth leaving him disconnected from the average American.
Paul, now considered by many as a mainstream GOP candidate, received more speaking time during the debate than he has in the past, and was complimented by others on the stage. Perry said that he was enlightened by Paul’s views on the Federal Reserve and has become very interested in the central bank in recent months, and Romney complimented the dedication of the Texas representative’s supporters.