SIMI VALLEY, Calif. - Republican rivals Rick Perry and Mitt Romney exchanged sharp jabs over who has the better job-creating record on Wednesday in a presidential candidate debate that featured the anemic US economy at center stage.
Perry, the Texas governor and new front-runner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, wasted little time in attacking his main rival, former Massachusetts Governor Romney, at the debate at the Ronald Reagan presidential library, a shrine to the iconic Republican president.
Perry, who entered the race less than a month ago, charged Romney had one of the worst records creating jobs in Massachusetts in history. His attack sought to undermine the underpinning of Romney's campaign to convince Americans he can handle the US economy better than struggling US President Barack Obama.
"As a matter of fact, we created more jobs in the last three months in Texas than he created in four years in Massachusetts," Perry said of Romney.
"Wait a second," Romney said when moderator Brian Williams of NBC sought to ask another question. He said Perry benefited from vast reserves of oil in a state that has no income tax.