(CNN) - There weren't too many sharp differences among the Republican presidential candidates in Monday night's New Hampshire debate, but a crack did emerge over how Islam and Muslims ought to be treated in the United States.
The CNN debate opened with discussions on economic issues, but later veered toward faith-based matters like the role of religion in candidates' decision making, abortion, gay marriage – and how the United States ought to treat Muslims living within its borders.
Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - Seven Republican presidential contenders faced off Monday in one of the first debates of the primary season, offering policy ideas and criticism of President Barack Obama to try to separate themselves from the competition almost 17 months before the 2012 election.
With Obama intent on re-election, Republican viewers were paying particularly close attention to try to determine which candidates can defeat an incumbent who won in 2008 with strong support from independent, minority and young voters.
Seven Republican candidates took part in the first New Hampshire Republican presidential debate Monday night on CNN. Read the live blog below. Follow all the issues and campaign news about the debate on CNNPolitics.com and @cnnpolitics on Twitter. Watch the debate on CNN TV, CNN.com and mobile devices.
Read the full story here.
Read the results of the Political Insiders Poll taken during the debate here.
10:01 p.m. ET - @PeterHambyCNN: aaaand Romney escapes unharmed. Win.
9:58 p.m. ET - Paul: I'd have ask more questions for them, said they haven't even told him how they feel about the Federal Reserve, a reference to his repeated calls to abolish the Reserve.
9:58 p.m. ET - Bachmann: Maybe have an American Idol-style contest.
9:57 p.m. ET – Q: Which person on this stage would you ask to join your administration?
9:57 p.m. ET - Romney: Everyone on this stage would be a better president than Obama.
9:56 p.m. ET – Pawlenty: Palin is qualified to be president and would have made a better vice president that Joe Biden, who has been wrong on everything.
9:56 p.m. ET - Q: Who made the better vice presidential choice in the 2008 campaign?
Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - A survey of GOP insiders indicates that Mitt Romney was the biggest winner of Monday night's CNN/WMUR/New Hampshire Union Leader Republican presidential debate.
According to a National Journal Political Insiders poll, 51 percent of those questioned say that the former Massachusetts governor was the biggest winner of the debate, with 21 percent saying that Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota was the winner. In third place in the survey was former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty at nine percent, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at seven percent, former Godfather's Pizza CEO and radio talk show host Herman Cain and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at four percent.
Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) – Five things we learned at the debate:
1) Michele Bachmann is now a candidate for president. The congresswoman from Minnesota was the only person on the stage who was not officially a candidate at the start of the debate. That changed minutes into the debate, when Bachmann told CNN's John King, the moderator of the debate that "I just want to make an announcement here for you, John, on CNN tonight. I filed today my paperwork to seek the office of the presidency of the United States today. And I'll very soon be making my formal announcement."
(CNN) – Enough about politics. Let's talk personality and personal preference. How do these candidates feel about some of America's favorite shows, foods and cultural icons? John King, CNN's Chief National Correspondent and moderator of the GOP presidential debate, asked each candidate to pick between two choices in an exercise called, "This or That?"
Washington (CNN) - Democratic fundraisers are hoping the lyrics from the final song in the movie “Sister Act: “I will follow him, follow him wherever he may go,” will resonate with donors next week in New York City. They are gearing up for President Obama’s unique fundraising venue on Broadway at a performance of Sister Act: The Musical.
As part of a push to raise re-election funds ahead of the Federal Election Committee’s June 30th quarterly fundraising deadline, Whoopi Goldberg will host a performance of the show in the president’s honor, Democratic sources tell CNN.
(CNN) – Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann said Monday at the CNN debate that she had filed paperwork to enter the presidential race and said she plans to make a formal announcement of her candidacy "soon."
Bachmann is the only participant at Monday's debate who has not formally declared her candidacy.
Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - Mere hours before this cycle's first presidential debate in New Hampshire, some key figures in the tea party movement had a message for any Republican presidential hopeful: if he or she thinks they can win the GOP nomination without Tea Party support – think again.
That's the declaration from the Tea Party Express on Monday ahead of the debate, in Manchester, co-sponsored by CNN, WMUR and The New Hampshire Union Leader.
(CNN) - Around 7:25 p.m. ET the House Clerk read a request on the floor from New York Rep. Anthony Weiner requesting a leave of absence for two weeks. It was agreed to without any objection.
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