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Republican presidential candidates on the issues

By Calvin Woodward

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Nov. 7 2011 2:30 p.m. MST

FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2011 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, makes a point during a Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas.

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:

Bachmann: 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.

Cain: Says president should only nominate anti-abortion judges, "the Constitution contains no right to take the life of unborn children," and he would support amending the Constitution to ban the procedure. Took contradictory positions, saying there should be "abortion under no circumstances" yet it is "not the government's role" to decide the question but rather a decision for women and families to make.

Gingrich: Signed anti-abortion pledge. "Principles to protect life" platform calls for conservative judges and no subsidies for abortion but not for constitutional abortion ban.

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

Paul: Says federal government should have no authority either to legalize or ban abortion. Yet 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.

Perry: 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.

Romney: Opposes abortion rights. Previously supported them. Says state law should guide abortion rights and Roe v. Wade should be reversed by a future Supreme Court. But says Roe vs. Wade is law of the land until that happens and should not be challenged by federal legislation seeking to overturn abortion rights affirmed by that court decision. Would not sign 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. "So I would live within the law, within the Constitution as I understand it, without creating a constitutional crisis. But I do believe Roe v. Wade should be reversed to allow states to make that decision."

Santorum: Favors constitutional abortion ban and opposes abortion even in cases of rape because "I would absolutely stand and say that one violence is enough." Previously supported right to abortion in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother.

DEBT:

Bachmann: 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.

Cain: Opposed deal to raise debt ceiling and avoid default. Favors unspecified spending cuts to balance federal budget.

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