Highlights from the GOP national security debate

Catch up on all of last night's bold declarations, traded blows, and head-scratching gaffes

Published November 23, 2011 1:32PM (EST)


Last night, the major eight Republican presidential hopefuls gathered for yet another in a long line of debates -- this time focused on national security. As expected, the evening was replete with hand-wringing over Barack Obama's foreign policy decisions, particularly with regards to Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. More interesting, though, were the moments when the candidates set aim not at the president, but (in the finest of primary traditions) each other, over everything from defense cuts and nuclear proliferation, to racial profiling and illegal immigration. CNN has helpfully compiled some of the more memorable moments from the debate in the following highlight reel. We've also pulled together a list of additional debate happenings, which you can find beneath the video.

Other video highlights:

  • Last night's most immediate point of interest involves an answer Newt Gingrich gave on illegal immigration that tracks well to the left of what any other candidate has offered on the subject (Rick Perry notwithstanding). Salon's Steve Kornacki has laid out the potential implications of Newt's immigration gambit here.
  • Rick Perry, meanwhile, committed no flagrant gaffes, and favors aggressive sanctions against Iran.
  • Michele Bachmann may have inadvertently leaked classified intelligence information concerning terrorist threats to nuclear sites in Pakistan.
  • Rick Santorum mistook Africa for a "country."
  • He also clashed with Ron Paul over the issue of TSA screening. He favors the use of targeted profiling as a means of potentially intercepting would-be terrorists. Paul disagreed, and invoked the ghost of Timothy McVeigh, who likely would have slipped past the screening procedures Santorum supports.
  • The two found common ground, however, on a matter of War on Terror semantics.
  • Mitt Romney incorrectly identified his own first name, as "Mitt." (It's Willard.) Herman Cain, for his part, shortened moderator Wolf Blitzer's last name to "Blitz." (Well, OK.)
  • Finally, Jon Huntsman was reportedly present at the debate.

By Peter Finocchiaro

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