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The gloves came off during the Republican Presidential debate last night in Jacksonville, Fla., as the two GOP frontrunners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney squared off against each other in a heated exchange.

STORY: Florida Debate: 10 Statements Made By Republicans That Can’t Be Ignored!

Romney struck first, saying that he would fire Gingrich if he came to him with an idea of spending a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon. As Romney put it, “You’re fired!”

Gingrich faced nothing but ridicule after he promised to establish a lunar colony within eight years if he becomes president.

Romney laughed at Gingrich saying:

“’The idea that corporate America wants to go off to the moon and build a colony there, it may be a big idea, but it’s not a good idea.”

The former Massachusetts governor was on the offensive all night as he turned in his best debate performance yet, while putting Gingrich on the defensive from the opening minutes and never letting up for two hours. 

As Romney put it after the debate ended, “When I’m shot at, I’ll return fire, I’m certainly no shrinking violet.”

Looks like Romney has his swagger back heading into Tuesday’s Florida primary.

As for the elephant in the room, namely Romney’s millions of dollars, he explained that his personal wealth is invested by a trustee who keeps the details private to avoid conflicts of interest.

As for Gingrich, he bounced back late in the debate, touching on religion and Christianity, saying:

“One of the reasons I am running is, there has been an increasingly aggressive war against religion, and in particular against Christianity in this country, largely by a secular elite and the academic, news media and judicial areas, it’s important to have some leadership that stands up and says, Enough.”

Both candidates have their work cut out for them come Tuesday.