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Republican candidates on the issues

By Calvin Woodward

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Nov. 7 2011 2:01 a.m. MST

Education: "Dramatically shrink the federal Department of Education, get rid of virtually all of its regulations." But supported Obama administration's $4 billion Race to the Top grant competition for states, which encourages compliance with national education standards, because it also promotes charter schools.

Energy: Let oil and natural gas industries drill offshore reserves now blocked from development, end restrictions on Western oil shale development. In Alaska alone, "We could liberate an area the size of Texas for minerals and other development."

Environment: Convert EPA into an "environmental solutions agency" devoted to scientific research and "more energy, more jobs and a better environment simultaneously." Supported tougher environmental regulation early in congressional career.

Gay Marriage: If the Defense of Marriage Act fails, "you have no choice except a constitutional amendment" to ban gay marriage. Under the act, the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriage and no state is forced to recognize a same-sex marriage validated by another state.

Health Care: Repeal Obama's health care law if Republicans win congressional majorities. Prohibit insurers from cancelling or charging discriminatory rate increases to those who become sick while insured, an element of Obama's law. Offer the choice of a "generous" tax credit to help people buy health insurance or the ability to deduct part of the cost from taxes, another feature similar to the existing law. Limit medical lawsuits to restrain health care costs and let people in one state buy policies in another. "Block-grant Medicaid and send it back to the states." Previously supported proposals that people be required to carry health insurance.

Immigration: Make English the official language. Divert more Homeland Security assets to fighting illegal immigration at Mexican border.

Social Security: Give younger workers the option of diverting Social Security taxes to private retirement accounts.

Taxes: Cut corporate tax to 12.5 percent from maximum 35 percent, eliminate capital gains and estate taxes, let companies write off all new equipment in one year. For personal taxes, let people choose whether to file under the current system or pay a 15 percent tax, preserving the mortgage interest and charitable deductions.

Terrorism: Supports continued use of Guantanamo Bay detention for suspected terrorists. Supported creation of Homeland Security apparatus, because "we need some capacity to respond to massive events." ''Only a grand strategy for marginalizing, isolating, and defeating radical Islamists across the world will lead to victory."

Wars: Initially criticized Obama for not intervening in Libya, then did an about-face after the president had sent in U.S. war planes to support the rebels fighting the government. "I would not have used American and European forces." No cuts in defense spending except waste. Supported Iraq war and opposed early timetables for withdrawal. Praised Obama's decision to bolster troops in Afghanistan two years ago; noncommittal this year on when and how they should withdraw.

HUNTSMAN

Abortion: Signed abortion restrictions into law as governor, favors constitutional abortion ban.

Debt: Only candidate to endorse the deal that averted a default on U.S. debt payments, "a positive step toward cutting our nation's crippling debt."

Economy: End corporate subsidies, cut regulations, lower taxes, spur jobs through energy development, seek repeal of Obama's health care law.

Education: "No Child Left Behind hasn't worked for this country. It ought to be done away with." Favors more school choice,

Energy: Used tax credits to promote clean energy in Utah but says he has learned that "subsidies don't work and that we can no longer afford them." Favors phasing out all energy subsidies and cutting regulatory obstacles to drilling and production. Says nation's fuel distribution network should be subject to Federal Trade Commission and Senate Judiciary Committee review because it gives oil an unfair advantage over natural gas. "We need to break oil's monopoly as a transportation fuel, and create a truly level playing field for competing fuels."

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