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GOP debate in Iowa: Best quotes out of the night

A summary of the one-liners delivered by Republican candidates in Sioux City, Iowa Thursday night.

Republican presidential candidates, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, left, and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas,at Republican presidential debate in Sioux City, Iowa, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011.

(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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Republican presidential hopefuls competing to challenge U.S. President Barack Obama in 2012 faced off in a debate on Thursday in Iowa, where the state-by-state Republican nominating contest kicks off in less than three weeks.

Here are some of their key quotes.

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Defending his merit as frontrunner:

"I believe I can debate Barack Obama and I think in seven three-hour debates Barack Obama will not have a leg to stand on."

Before answering a question on the Keystone Pipeline, referencing a Mitt Romney suggestion that Gingrich's ideas are "zany.":

"You know I sometimes get accused of using language that's too strong. So I've been standing here editing. I'm very concerned about not appearing to be zany."

RECOMMENDED: Eight unusual ideas from Newt Gingrich

MITT ROMNEY, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR

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On how he compares with Gingrich:

"I spent my life in the private sector. I can debate President Obama based upon that understanding. I'll have credibility on the economy when he doesn't. I know what it takes to get this economy going. The president doesn't."

MICHELE BACHMANN, U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN FROM MINNESOTA

On Gingrich's work for mortgage giant Freddie Mac:

"Evidence is that Speaker Gingrich took $1.6 million. You don't need to be within the technical definition of being a lobbyist to still be influence-peddling with senior Republicans."

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE RON PAUL

On Bachmann calling for stronger U.S. action against Iran:

"You're trying to dramatize this that we have to go and treat Iran like we've treated Iraq ... You cannot solve these problems with war."

On foreign policy:

"I would be a different kind of president. I wouldn't be looking for more power. I as the president wouldn't want to run the world."

On whether he would support the eventual nominee:

"Anybody up here can probably beat Obama."

JON HUNTSMAN

On the state of the country:

"We have been kicked around as people. We are getting screwed as Americans."

RICK PERRY, TEXAS GOVERNOR

Referring to the Denver Bronco's quarterback who has a string of seven wins, almost all coming from behind in the fourth quarter:

"I hope I am the Tim Tebow of the Iowa caucuses."

On Washington deadlock:

"That's the reason I've called for a part-time Congress. Cut their pay in half. Send them home. Let them get a job like everybody else back home has."

(Compiled by Lily Kuo; Editing by Bill Trott)

RECOMMENDED: Eight unusual ideas from Newt Gingrich


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