The host of Monday's Republican presidential debate promised questions on "jobs, jobs, jobs." The eight candidates obliged the questioners, who included citizens from Yorktown, Va., and Portsmouth, N.H., with answers that hewed closely to their responses in earlier debates in Simi Valley, Calif., and Ames, Iowa. Mitt Romney's 7-point plan made a reappearance, and Rick Perry took aim at President Obama's American Jobs Act.
Here's a closer look at each of the candidate's arguments:
Michele Bachmann: The House member from Minnesota was not asked directly what she would do to raise employment. Instead she was asked whether it was wrong that offsetting cuts in federal spending did not pay for the Bush tax cuts. She answered as she did in Ames, Iowa, last month.
"I was a leading voice, one of the only people in Congress, who said don't raise the debt ceiling," Bachmann responded. She also spent her answer period calling for the repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial-reform legislation and the health care bill that President Obama signed into law.
Herman Cain: The onetime head of Godfather's Pizza again touted his "9-9-9" plan, which calls for a 9 percent income tax, a 9 percent sales tax, and a 9 percent corporate tax.
"If we tinker around the edges, we won't serve the right problem," he said.
Newt Gingrich: True to his answers in previous debates, Gingrich said he would work with Democrats. This time, he added that he would be "glad to work with Democrats in any office, but I'd do it on principle, not on compromising principles." Adding a wrinkle to his argument, the fomer House speaker said that if the federal government would "modernize," it could save $5 billion a year.
Jon Huntsman: To the former Obama administration ambassador to China and onetime governor of Utah went a question that garnered loud applause. "How much of every dollar that I earn could I keep?" asked an audience member.
Ron Paul: The Texas congressman made his point—about keeping taxes low—by jabbing at a fellow Texan, Gov. Rick Perry.
Saying that as a taxpayer in Texas, Paul didn't think that Perry had kept taxes quite as low as he could have.
"I don't want to offend the governor because he might raise my taxes or something," Paul said.
Rick Perry: Focusing less on the jobs he says he helped create in Texas, Perry instead argued that Obama's plan, which calls for $447 billion in government spending, is doomed to failure.
"People are tired of spending money we don't have on programs we don't want," Perry said.
He also argued in favor of regulatory and tax code reform, without delving into details.
Mitt Romney: Asked about jump-starting the economy, Romney returned to the 7-point plan—including cutting corporate taxes and instituting regulator reform—he argued in favor of during the Ames, Iowa, debate. To applause he again used a bit of technological imagery to attack Obama on his policies.
"We've gone from a pay-phone world to a smartphone world. Obama keeps jamming quarters in. It's not connected anymore, Mr. President," Romney said.
Rick Santorum: The former senator from Pennsylvania argued that the public wants policies that permit citizens to "rise in society," and Santorum said that cutting the corporate tax rate to zero would achieve that goal. He also suggested that the flight of jobs from America to overseas, a refrain that he sounded in each of the last two debates, would be stemmed were his policies enacted.
"We want to you come back here; we want you to have 'made in America' stamped on your product," Santorum said to applause.