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SIMI VALLEY -- Michele Bachmann, who has fallen back in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, turned her opening remarks in this evening's debate to President Barack Obama, criticizing his health care overhaul.

"Obama-care is killing jobs," the Minnesota representative said in a primetime debate at the Reagan Presidential Library.

Bachmann's turn to the Democratic incumbent marked an early shift in the debate, which had been dominated early by Republican front-runners Mitt Romney and Rick Perry sparring over jobs.

Perry, the Texas governor, said Romney, a former businessman, did well in business but was less successful "when he moved that experience to government," his "public-sector record" falling short.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, said Perry benefited from a political and regulatory climate in Texas that was not of his making.

"There are differences between states," Romney said.

Bachmann saw her support from tea party members slip when Perry, the Texas governor, entered the race.

Perry is challenging Romney atop a crowded Republican field.

Also debating are Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Godfather's Pizza chief executive Herman Cain.

The debate is the first of five this month and next.


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