GOP debate attacks intensify

Oct. 21, 2007 at 11:08 PM
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ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Rhetorical attacks intensified Sunday night, as Republican presidential hopefuls debated in Orlando, Fla.

The candidates argued about who was most conservative, among other things, The New York Times reported. They also criticized the front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York.

Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee launched an early salvo toward Rudy Giuliani, challenging the former New York mayor's claim to conservatism.

"Mayor Giuliani believes in federal funding for abortion," said Thompson. "He believes in sanctuary cities. He’s for gun control. He supported Mario Cuomo, a liberal Democrat, against a Republican who was running for governor, then opposed the governor’s tax cuts when he was there."

Thompson said Giuliani "sides with" Clinton on those issues.

Giuliani called Thompson "the single biggest obstacle to tort reform in the United States Senate" and said Thompson "stood with Democrats over and over again."

Sen. John McCain of Arizona suggested his experience trumped that of Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"I wasn’t a mayor for a short period of time," said McCain. "I wasn’t a governor for a short period of time."

The debate was televised by Fox News.

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