Republican presidential candidates on the issues

By Calvin Woodward

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Jan. 6 2012 10:30 a.m. MST

** ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY JAN. 8, 2011, AND THEREAFTER ** FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2012, file photo Republican presidential candidate, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, campaigns in Keene, N.H. “Who's that guy?” a factory worker asked during the visit. The complex answer from his biography is he's an Obama administration appointee running in a GOP primary where candidates have been working to out-conservative one another. He's a Mormon navigating a process typically dominated by evangelicals. He's a Harley-riding, high school dropout who frequents taco stands, and the son of a billionaire businessman. But what Huntsman, 51, would have you know, first and foremost: “I can get elected.”

Matt Rourke, File, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

WASHINGTON — Here's where the 2012 Republican presidential candidates stand on a selection of issues.

They are former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

ABORTION:

Gingrich: 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 size of the fetus' 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:

Gingrich: As House speaker in mid-1990s, engineered passage of a seven-year balanced-budget plan. It was vetoed by President Bill Clinton but helped form a bipartisan balanced budget two years later. Supports constitutional balanced budget amendment. Said that without a balanced budget, the U.S. had no choice but to raise its debt limit in the deal that avoided a default.

Huntsman: 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."

Paul: Would eviscerate federal government, slashing nearly half its spending, shut five Cabinet-level agencies, end spending on existing conflicts and on foreign aid.

Perry: 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 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. Press Congress to cut lawmakers' and president's pay by half.

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