GOP Candidates square off in Michigan

by Jay Gray
NBC News

For the Republicans this sixth debate provided a new target.

Mitt Romney said, "These debates are a lot like Law and Order.  Huge cast, it goes on forever, and Fred Thompson comes in at the end."

Fred Thompson in the race for just over a month spent plenty of time in the spotlight.

"And to think I thought I was going be the best actor on the stage," Said Fred Thomson.

As the crowded field of nine GOP contenders talked about the economy, free trade and taxes.

Rudy Giuliani said, "The point is, you've got to control taxes, but I did it he didn't. I controlled taxes.  I brought taxes down by 17 percent. Under him taxes went up 11 percent per capital, I led, he lagged."

Mitt Romney "Its bologna. Mayor, you gotta check your facts, no taxes, I did not increase taxes in Massachusetts. I lowered taxes."

It was billed as an economic debate, but the candidates could not ignore the  "business" of the war in Iraq.

John McCain said, "I'm the only one on this stage that four years ago said this is a failed policy in Iraq. It's not going to work, it's got to be changed."

As the crowded GOP filed continues to look for some change as well, the frontrunners leave Michigan looking for some momentum and separation.