Dec. 11 - Surging frontrunner Newt Gingrich fought off heavy attacks in a presidential debate from Republican rivals who questioned his judgment. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**TELEVISION: ON SCREEN CREDIT READING "ABC NEWS" MUST APPEAR DURING EACH EXCERPT AND REMAIN ON-SCREEN FOR THE DURATION OF ALL EXCERPTS. / RADIO: EACH EXCERPT MUST BE INTRODUCED WITH AN AUDIO CREDIT TO ABC NEWS./ INTERNET: EXCERPTS MUST STREAM WITH AN "ABC NEWS" CREDIT AS DESCRIBED ABOVE, OR A LINK TO ABCNEWS.COM. ONE 30 SECOND DEBATE EXCERPT MAY BE USED IN REGULARLY SCHEDULED NEWS PROGRAMS BEGINNING AT 11:00 P.M., ET ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10. ADDITIONAL EXCERPTS MAY NOT BE USED UNTIL 5:00 A.M. ,ET ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11. Clash of the front runners in the Republican debate. With the Iowa caucuses less than a month away, the frontrunners clash in a heated debate in Des Moines Iowa. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, portrayed by critics at times as rash, kept his cool as his Republican rivals criticized him for saying Palestinians were a quote "invented" people, in an interview Friday. Mitt Romney, the former frontrunner and one time Governor of Massachusetts, contrasted how he would deal with the Middle East. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MITT ROMNEY, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR SAYING: "I will exercise sobriety, care, stability and make sure in a setting like this anything that I say that would affect a place with rockets going in, with people dying-- I don't do anything that would harm that process. Therefore before I make a statement of that nature, I get on the phone with my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say, 'Would it help if I said this?' 'What would you like me to do?' Let's work together because we are partners. I'm not a bomb thrower, rhetorically or literally." Gingrich did not back down (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, SAYING: "I think sometimes it's helpful to have a president of the United States with the courage to tell the truth just as Ronald Reagan who went around his entire national security apparatus to call the Soviet Union an evil empire, and overruled his entire State Department in order to say Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall. Reagan believed in the power of truth, restated the world and reframed the world. I'm a Reaganite, I'm proud to be a Reaganite, I will tell the truth, even if it's at the risk of causing some confusion sometimes with the timid." The Republicans will debate again on Thursday (December 15) in Sioux City, Iowa. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters