Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum sharpened their attacks on Mitt Romney in this morning's Republican debate, with Mr. Gingrich calling Mr. Romney "a relatively timid Massachusetts Massachusetts moderate" peddling "pious baloney" with the help of his "millionaire friends," and Mr. Santorum saying Mr. Romney "wouldn't stand up for conservative principles."
After Mr. Santorum asked if Mr. Romney had done such a great job as governor of Massachusetts, why didn't he run for re-election, Mr. Romney replied, "for me, politics is not a career."
Mr. Gingrich interjected, "Could we drop a little bit of the pious baloney?" He said to Mr. Romney, "You've been running consistently for years and years and years...You've been running consistently since at least the 1990s."
Jon Huntsman also joined the attacks on Mr. Romney: "He criticized me, while he was out raising money, for serving my country...This nation is divided, David, because of attitudes like that."
Mr. Romney said he had become "more conservative as time has gone on," describing himself as a "solid conservative" who was responsible for creating more jobs in Massachusetts than Barack Obama created in the entire country.
Mr. Santorum also attacked Ron Paul: "He's really been unsuccessful in working together with anyone to accomplish anything." Also: "All the things they like about him, he can't accomplish, and all the things they're worried about, he'll do on day one."
Mr. Santorum was asked what he would do if he had a son who announced he was gay, and the candidate replied he'd love the son as much as he had the second before. Mr. Romney was asked when was the last time he spoke up for increasing gay rights, and replied, "right now."
The debate was moderated by NBC News's David Gregory.