Fireworks in Michigan

Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 11:46am

At last night's debate, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney have heated exhchanges for critical votes.

Last night was the 20th, and possibly last debate with the four remaining Republican candidates for President, but the focus was on two: Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

With and Michigan polls virtually tied, the top two candidates went back and forth all night.

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, talking over each other at times, with the fiercest exchanges over heath care, earmarks, and taxes. "Governor Romney raised $700 million in taxes and fees in Massachusetts. I never voted to raise taxes," proclaimed Rick Santorum, (R) Presidential Candidate.

"You voted to raise the debt ceiling five times without compensating cuts in spending," countered Mitt Romney, (R) Presidential Candidate.

Santorum admitted he voted for things he didn't support, like no child left behind, and
family planning. "Politics is a team sport, folks. And sometimes you got to -- you got to rally together and do something," said Rick Santorum.

"While I was fighting to save the Olympics, you were fighting to save the Bridge to Nowhere," said Mitt Romney, (R) Presidential Candidate.

Santorum accused Romney of backing big banks but abandoning auto workers. "He supported the folks on Wall Street and bailed out Wall Street -- was all for it, and then when it came to the autoworkers and the folks in Detroit, he said no," said Rick Santorum, (R) Presidential Candidate.

"I don't want to save any Wall Street bank. I just don't want to make sure we lose all of our banks," argued Mitt Romney, (R) Presidential Candidate.

Who's the most conservative? Not Santorum - Ron Paul said. "Because he's a fake."

Newt Gingrich struggled to get a word in. Here's what he said about immigration. "It is utterly stupid to say that the United States government can't control the border," said Newt Gingrich, (R) Presidential Candidate.

The candidates are trying to draw clear differences as we get closer to critical votes.

Tracie Potts, NBC News, Washington.

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