(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?"
Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) – Issue number one in presidential politics is certainly the economy and jobs. For many Americans, the social issues, including abortion, are not at the top of the agenda. That is the case even for many conservative Republicans and Tea Party activists who have gathered in New Hampshire for tonight's CNN Republican presidential debate. They are also deeply worried about the nation's mounting debt.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, however, is one candidate who certainly doesn't run away from the social issues. His opposition to abortion rights for women is well-known, though I was surprised to learn the degree of his fierce opposition.
Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - Tim Pawlenty said Monday that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's health care record will be "fair game" at this evening's Republican presidential debate.
"I don't think contrasting policy differences between the candidates is out of bounds in a debate," Pawlenty told reporters after touring an orthotics and prosthetics company in Manchester. "The American people want to know what you stand for and what do you believe. If you get asked a question about how that differs from other proposals, I think that's fair game."
Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - New Hampshire Republicans will not watch Monday night's presidential debate in the same way as typical voters across the country. Any good politician knows this.
The state's traditional blend of fiscal conservatism and social tolerance poses a tricky challenge for the seven GOP candidates onstage at St. Anselm College. Answers that win applause in Iowa living rooms might not work as well in the Granite State.
Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - Newt Gingrich is on the ropes, Tim Pawlenty's dropped the gloves, and Mitt Romney will be in the middle.
It doesn't matter that Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani and Jon Huntsman decided to stay home.
The game is on.