So much for a quiet Sunday morning in Iowa.
The Republican presidential contenders didn't waste a minute during their first network television debate, each aggressive, eager and ready to tackle questions on abortion, foreign policy and the role of the vice president, with their gloves off.
"I get tired of people that are holier than thou because they've been pro-life longer than I have," said GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, in a thinly veiled attack on GOP rival Sen. Sam Brownback.
Romney called an Iowa robo-call paid for by the Brownback campaign attacking Romney's changed abortion stance as "desperate" and "negative."
Brownback, who champions the "pro-life" stance as a "core issue" for the GOP, said the robo-call was "truthful" and promised to appoint a judge to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani defended his lone "pro-choice" voice in the GOP candidate pool as "a decision that a woman should make with her conscience and her doctor."
Candidates had harsh words for Democratic rival Barack Obama, who threatened Pakistani leaders this week by saying the United States would intervene with force if they didn't do a better job identifying terrorists that take refuge there.
"He's gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in one week," Romney said of Obama.
Romney continued: "I think Obama is confused as to who our friends and who our enemies are."
The former Massachusetts governor also duked it out with Giuliani, who supports invading Pakistan as "an option that should remain open."
"I would take that option if there was no other way to crush al Qaeda, no other way to crush the Taliban, no other way to catch bin Laden," Giuliani said.
"We keep our options quiet. We don't go out to say to a nation that's working with us that we intend to go in there and bring on a unilateral attack," said Romney. "The only people who can defeat radical jihadists are Muslims themselves."
California Rep. Duncan Hunter echoed Romney's sentiment.
"When you have a country that is cooperating, you don't tell them you are going to unilaterally move against them," Hunter said.
Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton struck back at the GOP debate. "The fact that the same Republican candidates who want to keep 160,000 American troops in the middle of a civil war couldn't agree that we should take out Osama bin Laden if we had him in our sights proves why Americans want to turn the page on the last seven years of Bush-Cheney foreign policy."
Vice President Dick Cheney's role during the Bush presidency came into question during a viewer-submitted question that asked the candidates what authority they would delegate to the office of vice president.
Arizona Sen. John McCain quipped that he'd given a lot of thought to the powers of the vice president, as he'd been considered for the job on more than one occasion but went on to clarify that he'd "be very careful to make everyone understand that there was only one president."
Giuliani said he was comfortable with a vice president who could take over "at a moment's notice."
Tipping his hat to the current administration, Romney agreed: "People like to criticize the president and vice president, and they have made mistakes, but they've kept us safe."