"Maybe it's time to have provocative language in this country and say things like 'Let's get America working again, and let's do whatever it takes to make that happen,’" Perry said.

Mitt Romney, who's slipped to second, tried to take it to Perry:

“Texas is a great state, Texas has zero income tax, Texas has a right to work state, a Republican legislature, a Republican Supreme Court, Texas has a lot of oil and gas in the ground, but Governor Perry doesn't believe that he created those things, if he tried to say that it would be like Al Gore saying he invented the internet,” Romney said.

Perry was ready: "Gov. Romney left the private sector, and he did a great job creating jobs all around the world. But the fact is when he moved that experience to government, he had one of the lowest job creation rates in the country… Michael Dukakis created jobs 3 times faster than you did Mitt," Perry said.

Romney countered: "Well, as a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did governor."

Perry: “Not true.”

The best line of the night belonged to Herman Cain: "If 10% is good enough for God, 9% ought to be good enough for the federal government!"

Given Rick Perry's rapid rise to the top, and Mitt Romney's slide back into second place, this debate was more about them than anyone else.

I thought the winner was Perry. He was–in a word–impressive. He talked directly to viewers, and even quoted JFK.

That makes Romney the loser. He didn't connect as well as Perry, and he spent more time defending "Romneycare" than he would have liked.

Perry, Romney and the rest of the Republicans have two more debates this month.

When those are done, we may know who the GOP survivors are, and there may be just two.

I’m Andy Hiller, and that’s my instinct.(Copyright (c) 2011 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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