The eight Republicans vying for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination squared off in Iowa Thursday in a debate that saw each candidate criticize the current U.S. president — and each other. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is said to be the early frontrunner as the candidates head into this weekend’s Iowa Straw Poll, a non-binding preliminary ballot. Texas Governor Rick Perry is also expected to put his name forward as a potential nominee on Saturday. The highlights of Thursday’s debate included former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty calling Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann’s political accomplishments “non-existent.” Bachmann responded by criticizing Pawlenty’s past support for environmental legislation, saying he “sounds a lot like President Obama.”
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