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Gingrich to Romney: The Only Reason You Didn't Become a Career Politician Is Because You Lost to Ted Kennedy in '94

Saturday night's GOP presidential debate in Iowa was certainly animated, and got particular feisty when the campaign's two frontrunners went at each other. Within the first twenty minutes of the two hour debate former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich were exchanging blows.

After being asked by ABC moderator George Stephanopoulos about Romney's specific disagreements from Gingrich that make him more conservative, Romney took a moment before presenting his opposition to the former Speaker's "idea to have a lunar colony that would mine minerals from the moon," statements that some have said look to knock down child labor laws, and views on the capital gains tax that the former Massachusetts governor disagrees with.

“I spent my life in the private sector,” Romney said. “I understand how the economy works. I believe for Americans to say goodbye to President Obama and elect a Republican; they need to have confidence the person they're electing knows how to make this economy work again and create jobs for the American middle class.”

Shrewd as ever, Gingrich responded “Let's be candid, the only reason you didn't become a career politician is you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994."

Following the cutting observation, Gingrich defended his support of the space program and providing early work opportunities for children in poverty, and said he was "astonished" that a businessman of Romney's stature disagreed with his stance on the capital gains tax.

Romney later responded to the Ted Kennedy line: "with regards to the idea that if I'd beaten Ted Kennedy, I could've been a career politician, that's probably true.  If I would've been able to get in the NFL liked I hope when I was a kid, why, I woulda  been a football star all my life too.

"I spent my life in the private sector," said Romney following applause and laughter. "Losing to Teddy Kennedy was probably the best thing I could have done for  preparing me for the job I'm seeking, because it put me back in the private sector.  I worked in the private sector, I learned lessons that are desperately needed in Washington."

The full back and forth from Mediaite:

One last thing…
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