Republican candidates on the issues

By Calvin Woodward

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Nov. 7 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

Health Care: Opposes compulsory insurance and all government subsidies for health coverage. Favors letting people deduct full cost of their health coverage and care from taxes. Says doctors should then feel an obligation to treat the needy for free.

Immigration: Do "whatever it takes" to secure the border, end the right to citizenship of U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, no social services for illegal immigrants, aggressive deportation of those who overstay a visa or otherwise break U.S. law.

Social Security: Says younger workers should be able to opt out of Social Security taxes and retirement benefits.

Taxes: Eliminate the federal income tax and the IRS. Meantime would vote for a national sales tax, supports certain excise taxes and certain tariffs. Favors massive spending cuts to defund close to half the government and eliminate the need to replace the income tax at all.

Terrorism: Opposes the surveillance and search powers of the Patriot Act. Says terrorists would not be motivated to attack America if the U.S. ended its military presence abroad.

Wars: Bring all or nearly all troops home, from Afghanistan and other foreign posts, "as quick as the ships could get there." Opposed U.S. intervention in Libya. "We've been fighting wars since World War II, technically in an unconstitutional fashion." Cut Pentagon budget.


Abortion: Now supports constitutional abortion ban after saying states should decide their own laws on such issues. Backed Texas law that attempts to discourage abortions by making doctors describe the fetus' size limbs and organs to the woman, and make available an image of the fetus and the sound of its heartbeat to her, before she can have the procedure.

Debt: Was non-committal on the deal that avoided default and raised debt ceiling. Proposes to cap federal spending at 18 percent of gross domestic product, down from about 25 percent today, but no specifics on major spending cuts other than from raising retirement age for Social Security and Medicare benefits for future retirees. Favors constitutional balanced-budget amendment. "No more bailouts." Freeze size and salaries of federal civilian work force until budget is balanced.

Economy: Spur economy by repealing rafts of regulations, Obama's health care law and the law (Dodd-Frank) toughening financial-industry regulations after the meltdown in that sector. Create jobs in energy sector by removing obstacles to drilling and production. Cut corporate taxes.

Education: Turned down federal education aid to Texas worth up to $700 million because he saw it as imposing national standards on Texas schools. Says No Child Left Behind law gave Washington too much power to interfere with local government.

Energy: Proposes authorizing more development on federal lands and slashing regulations to spur drilling in restricted areas and open off-limits waters and lands to production, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Southern Atlantic and Alaskan outer continental shelves. Opposes federal restrictions on natural gas production, including hydraulic or nitrogen fracturing and horizontal drilling.

Environment: Manmade global warming is a "scientific theory that has not been proven and from my perspective is more and more being put into question." Proposes repeal of EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases and elimination of all EPA programs to restrict carbon dioxide emissions. Opposes restrictions on coal industry under the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. Says environmental regulation and conservation are best achieved at state level and EPA should be converted to a "research and advisory" agency with no enforcement powers except when states ask for federal arbitration of regional disputes. As governor, cut money for clean air programs, cut the budget for Texas' environmental watchdog by a third and sued EPA to avoid enforcing clean air laws. Signed law that requires Texas to consider the effect of new regulations on the economy before passing them.

Gay Marriage: Now supports constitutional ban on gay marriage after saying states should choose their own courses.

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