David Usborne: Rivals rage at Romney to 'cut the pious baloney'
The Mitt Romney flying machine at last took some flak last night in the final debate in the Republican presidential race before today's key primary election in New Hampshire. His rivals, chafing to bring him down, branded him "timid", "pious" and dishonest in how he had conducted his campaign.
While a debate on Saturday saw the other candidates holding their fire on Mr Romney, by yesterday the mood had changed, or at least become more caffeinated. Defending himself against Rick Santorum's claim that he had not tried for a second term as governor of Massachusetts by saying he was not a "career politician", Mr Romney was slapped down by Newt Gingrich for going over time.
"I realise the red light doesn't mean anything to you because you're the front-runner," Mr Gingrich declared, tartly, before ridiculing what Mr Romney was saying about career politicians. "Let's cut the pious baloney," he said, demanding that the former governor "level with the American people".