The latest debate among US republicans vying to become their party’s presidential candidate has been dominated by bitter exchanges between the two main contenders.
Florida is the battleground for the next primary vote at the end of the month. Under fire over the amount of tax he pays, multi-millionaire Mitt Romney went on the offensive. It has recently emerged that in the last two years, Romney has paid $6.2 million (4.75 million euros) in tax on $42.5 million (32.5m euros) revenue, a tax rate of under 15 percent despite being among the US’ richest people.
He said: “You will see my income, how much I pay, how much I paid to charity. You will see how complicated tax could be. But I pay all the taxes legally required and not a dollar more. I don’t thing you want someone as a candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes.”
After his win in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich is right back in the race. Romney accused him of being a more successful lobbyist than politician, a claim he angrily rejected.
He said: “There’s a point in this process where it gets unnecessarily personal and nasty and that’s sad. The fact is, I’ve had a very long career of trying to represent the people of Georgia and as Speaker (of the Congressional House of Representatives), the people of the United States. I think it’s pretty clear to say that I have never ever done any lobbying.”
Rick Santorum is looking for a strong performance in Florida after finishing third in South Carolina. Ron Paul is not standing, preferring to focus on later primaries.