Texas Gov. Rick Perry attempted to regain some momentum at Tuesday’s CNN Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas by accusing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney of hiring undocumented workers.
“The fact is that we have a huge number of illegals that are coming in to this country and they’re coming into this country because the federal government has failed to secure that border,” Perry explained. “They’re coming here because there is a magnet and the magnet is called jobs. And those people that hire illegals ought to be penalized.”
“And Mitt, you lose all of your standing from my perspective because you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year. And the idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you’re strong on immigration is on its face, the height of hypocrisy.”
After a big dramatic laugh (and some booing from the pro-Romney crowd), Romney replied that he had “never hired an illegal” in his life.
The discussion then degenerated into an argument with both candidates talking over each other.
“This is been a tough couple of debates for Rick and I understand that,” Romney noted. “So you’re going to get testy… I suggest if you want to be president of the United States then you got to let both people speak. So, let me speak.”
Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Oct. 18, 2011.