Though he said that he would bring troops home, Romney added that it would only be when conditions on the ground would allow it.
Romney danced up to the edge, saying he would not raise the debt ceiling. While most economists say that allowing the country to default would lead to economic mayhem, Romney said he would only support raising the debt limit if President Obama can chart a course toward a balanced budget. Now, he suggested, is the crisis point when Republicans should make a stand on government spending, over the debt limit.
"What we say to America is: at some point, you hit a wall," Romney said. "At some point, people around the world say, "I'm not going to keep loaning money to America to pay these massive deficits pay for them because America can't pay them back and the dollar is not worth anything anymore," he said.
Gingrich defended Cain and went one step further. He pointed out that Faisal Shahzad, the naturalized Muslim American who attempted to detonate a bomb in Times Square, told a judge he lied about his fealty to the U.S. Gingrich said that this could justify treating Muslims in a similar manner that the U.S. treated Nazis and Communists.
"Now, I just want to go out on a limb here. I'm in favor of saying to people, if you're not prepared to be loyal to the United States, you will not serve in my administration, period," said Gingrich to applause.
"We did this -- we did this in dealing with the Nazis and we did this in dealing with the Communists. And it was controversial both times, and both times we discovered after a while, you know, there are some genuinely bad people who would like to infiltrate our country. And we have got to have the guts to stand up and say no," he said.
Gingrich also had an unconventional idea to secure the border with Mexico -- a mass mobilization of the National Guard like the U.S. has done in war time. Barring that, he suggested that half the bureaucracy of the Department of Homeland Security be transferred south.
"Somehow we would have done more for American security if we had had the National Guard on the border," he said. "If you don't want to use the National Guard, take -- take half of the current Department of Homeland Security bureaucracy in Washington, transplant it to Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. You'll have more than enough people to control the border."
Romney and Gingrich said the U.S. would have been better off without NASA, and if the private sector had handled the space program.
The debate also covered a myriad of social issues, like abortion, gay marriage, the auto industry and Wall Street bailouts.