South Carolina GOP presidential debate brings heated responses

Republican presidential candidates took the stage in a heated South Carolina GOP debate Monday

night that aired on Fox News


Front-runner Mitt Romney defended his position on venture capitalism and repeatedly stated his super PAC attack ads are coming from people he has not talked to in months.

Romney came under criticism from the opening moments of the debate when Georgetown Steel and Bain Capital were the first topics mentioned.

The topics quickly changed throughout the debate

and one topic that had Texas Governor Rick Perry fired up is the federal governments involvement with state legislation, especially South Carolina's new voter ID law and immigration law. Perry said South Carolina "is at war with this federal government and this administration."

Perry said, "Washington DC needs to leave the states alone," which caused a loud, overwhelming crowd response.

Romney agreed with the Texas governor.

The debate topic then shifted to military and defense finances where Ron Paul took a strong stance against military spending. Paul said, "I want to cut money, military money."


aul said he wants to protect military jobs domestically and insists there's a difference between military spending and a strong national defense.

Romney reacted by reiterating the need to create a military force that would not be contested by any country in the world. "Negotiating with the Taliban is not what we need to do, we need to defeat the Taliban," Romney said.

But it was Romney's answer to releasing his personal tax returns that had him dancing around a definitive answer. When asked, if elected as the next president of the United States, would he release his personal tax information, he hesitantly stated he would since that is tradition.

Santorum and Newt Gingrich seemed to focus their attention on Romney's super PAC ads and wavering stance on abortion.

In the end, it will come down to South Carolina voters who will head to the polls to cast ballots in the primary this Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story