MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Mitt Romney was put on defense out of the box at Monday night's Republican presidential primary debate -- answering questions about his record at private venture firm, Bain Capital; distancing himself from super PAC ads against fellow candidates; defending his record as Massachusetts governor, and dodging demands that he release his tax records.
But Romney fired back against the onslaught, saying he is proud of his record in business and as governor.
"We were fortunate to have an unemployment rate by the time I left office of 4.7 percent. Sounds pretty good today," Romney said. "And I was also proud of the fact that we balanced the budget every year I was in office. We reduced taxes 19 times, put in place a rainy day fund of over $2 billion by the time I left."
Still, with his rivals running out of time to make the case they are a viable and "conservative" alternative to the front-runner, the attacks were fast and furious.
Rick Perry accused Bain of sweeping into Georgetown, S.C., and closing a steel mill.
"They picked that company over, and a lot of people lost jobs there," Perry said.