Chris Carlson, File, Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Here's where the 2012 Republican presidential candidates stand on a selection of issues.
They are Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. John Huntsman, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
Abortion: Backed efforts to declare the unborn "persons" under the Constitution, the most direct challenge to the Supreme Court's affirmation of abortion rights. Signed pledge to advance only anti-abortion appointees for relevant administration jobs, cut off federal dollars for clinics that perform or finance abortions, and support a ban on abortions after the fetus reaches a certain stage in development. Introduced bill to require pregnant women to see and hear the fetal heartbeat before having an abortion. Promoted other anti-abortion bills, including some that contained exceptions for rape, incest or the life of a mother. Sought to put abortion restrictions into Minnesota's constitution while in state Legislature.
Debt: Opposed the agreement worked out by Congress and the White House to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a default. Said U.S. could have paid only the interest on debt while working out a plan to cut spending more deeply.
Economy: Voted for $192 billion in stimulus spending in July 2009; voted against two earlier stimulus packages totaling nearly $900 billion and against housing aid and auto-industry aid. Opposed extension of jobless benefits. "Government overregulation is the single biggest jobs killer." Repeal the financial-industry regulations enacted in response to the subprime housing crisis.
Education: Wants to abolish Education Department, which she calls unconstitutional. Says federal government doesn't have a role in education; jurisdiction is with state and local governments. Tried to pull Minnesota out of No Child Left Behind law.
Energy: Reduce regulatory impediments to drilling. Opposes cap and trade. Voted to open the outer continental shelf to oil drilling. Voted against tax breaks for renewable energy and conservation.
Environment: Open federal lands to economic activity by "repealing radical environmental laws that kill access to natural resources." Voted to bar Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.
Gay Marriage: Supports constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Says federal law trumps state law on the issue but she "would not be going into the states to overturn their state law."
Health Care: Promises to seek repeal of President Barack Obama's health care law. Favors limits on medical lawsuits as a way to control health care costs. Voted against expanding Children's Health Insurance Program and against regulating tobacco as a drug.
Immigration: Favors fence all along the 1,900-mile U.S.-Mexico border, not just the 650 miles built at a cost of $2.6 billion. Opposes government benefits for illegal immigrants and their children.
Social Security: Keep Social Security for older workers and "wean everybody else off." Says it is "very likely" that the age for retirement benefits will have to go up for new workers.
Taxes: Eliminate estate tax. Tax holiday followed by low tax rate, 5 percent, for U.S. companies operating overseas that repatriate their profits.
Terrorism: Expand Guantanamo, no Miranda or constitutional rights for foreign terrorist suspects.
Wars: "Defense spending did not cause our budget crisis and we must maintain our military strength." Opposed U.S. intervention in Libya, saying the effort might be helping terrorists there. Called Afghanistan a war "we must and can win" provided generals have sufficient troops and money.
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