The Washington Post on last night’s GOP debate: “Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney tangled over Social Security, health care and other issues here Thursday in a debate in which the Republican presidential candidates sharply criticized the policies of President Obama and joined in an assault on the federal government.”
The New York Times: “[A]fter two hours of dueling it was unclear whether Mr. Perry had achieved his goal of knocking Mr. Romney off his fairly unruffled stride. It was similarly not certain that Mr. Romney had made headway in knocking Mr. Perry down a few pegs in what has been a relatively strong opening to his young campaign.”
USA Today leads its coverage with Romney and Perry engaging over immigration.
“The third Republican presidential debate in as many weeks showed the same dynamics as the prior two, with many of the candidates jabbing away at the Texan. In one exchange on immigration, Mr. Romney said he couldn't understand why Mr. Perry signed a Texas law giving in-state university tuition to illegal immigrants, something he said amounted to as much as a $100,000 subsidy for each,” the Wall Street Journal adds.
The Boston Globe’s Johnson notes the back-and-forth between Perry and Romney over flip-flopping.
BACHMANN: The New York Times reports that Bachmann’s campaign is having trouble raising money. Citing interviews with unnamed sources close to the campaign, the newspaper reports that Bachmann has refused to make cold calls in order to raise funds, “leaving it to hired financial directors who are under tremendous pressure.”
The newspaper adds: “Her change in fortunes from darling of the Tea Party to trailing in the polls represents a remarkable reversal for a candidate who used a strong debate performance… to start her campaign, before winning the [Iowa] straw poll, the first big test of organization and voter enthusiasm.”
And the Chicago Sun-Times reports a local Tea Party group feels snubbed after an event in suburban Chicago Monday was cancelled. Bachmann will be in Iowa instead. (The campaign tells NBC News the Illinois event was never confirmed.)
PERRY: Writing in National Journal, Ron Brownstein notes how Perry presides over a state that has been solidly Republican over the past 15 years, calling him “the Republican equivalent of a San Francisco Democrat, a politician molded by unshielded exposure to his party’s brightest flame.” More Brownstein: “That pedigree helps explain some of his greatest strengths – and potential vulnerabilities – in the 2012 presidential race.”