Mitt Romney put his best face this morning on Wednesday night's rollicking Republican debate in which he was jostled by his rivals and elbowed back aggressively.
Romney and Rudy Giuliani had a heated exchange on illegal immigration. Romney accused Guiliani of welcoming and coddling illegal immigrants by making New York a "sanctuary city" while he was mayor. Giuliani hit back, charging Romney with tolerating sanctuary cities in Massachusetts while he was governor, and even having a "sanctuary mansion" because illegal immigrants worked in the yard of his Belmont home.
On CNN, Romney sought again to rebut the "sanctuary mansion" charge, saying that Giuliani was being "dishonest." (Watch here.)
"I did not hire any illegal aliens," he said, explaining that the landscaping company hired the workers and that he didn't find out about the illegal immigrants until after a Globe investigation.
Romney and Mike Huckabee also went at it over Huckabee's support, while he was governor of Arkansas, for tuition breaks for the children of illegal immigrants who excelled in school.
"I was very pleased that I got across last night what I needed to do, which is to point out the sanctuary city policies to the mayor and the extraordinary in-state tuition position of Governor Huckabee," Romney said on Fox News.
Romney also said while he and Huckabee have similar views against abortion and for family values, Republicans will see differences between them. "They're going to say ok he's conservative on social issues, but economic issues and cultural issues, he's more liberal," Romney said.