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Key Moments in the South Carolina GOP Debate


"You are doing something the Democrats will do."

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some notable moments from the Republican presidential hopefuls' debate Monday in Myrtle Beach, S.C.:


From the frontrunner:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney used the debate to defend his record as a venture capitalist. Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, Romney's rivals, have portrayed him as a corporate fat cat whose company, Bain Capital, made a fortune while thousands of employees lost their jobs.

Asked whether the results of Bain's successes show a flaw in the business model or are just the rough and tumble of capitalism, Romney said he believes free enterprise works and ultimately improves the economy.

"Every time we invested, we tried to grow an enterprise, add jobs to make it more successful," Romney said. "The record is pretty darn good."


Releasing tax forms:

Romney said he'd be "happy" to release his tax forms and suggested he would do so around April if he is the party's presidential nominee.

"I've heard enough from folks saying, 'Look, let's see your tax records.' I have nothing in them that suggests there's any problem and I'm happy to do so," Romney said.

"If I become our nominee, and what's happened in history is people have released them in about April of the coming year, and that's probably what I would do."

Perry called on Romney to release his tax forms soon, as other candidates had. The public, Perry added, has a right to know how Romney earned his money, adding "We can't fire our nominee in September. We need to know now."


Gingrich on his positive campaign promise:

Romney's super PAC spent more than $3 million in attack ads, which Gingrich said left him the option to either "unilaterally disarm" and leave the race or "at least bring up your competitor's record."

Asked why he was criticizing Romney's success in a way that Democrats might, Gingrich replied:

"I don't think Republicans should allow themselves to automatically be intimidated because every time you raise a question somebody yells, 'You are doing something the Democrats will do.'"


Sharp disagreements over indefinite detention:

President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act that would allow indefinite detention of some terror suspects. Many civil liberties activists believe the law is unconstitutional.

Romney said he would have signed the law and insisted it was "appropriate" to detain American members of al-Qaida. Romney called membership in the group "treason" and said the U.S. government has the right to impose indefinite detention.

Santorum said a U.S. citizen who is detained as an enemy combatant should have the right to a lawyer and to appeal their case before a federal court.

Paul said holding American citizens indefinitely is a breach of the U.S. judicial system.

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