Candidates outline views on entitlement cuts

By Beth Fouhy

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Jan. 8 2012 7:56 a.m. MST

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, left, reaches for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum during a Republican presidential candidate debate at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, N.H., Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012.

Charles Krupa, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

CONCORD, N.H. — The Republican presidential candidates are offering different ideas on cutting federal entitlement programs.

Former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania says he would trim Social Security benefits for wealthier retirees, as would former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. Santorum said he would also shift responsibility for Medicaid, food stamp and housing programs to the states.

The Republicans met for a nationally televised debate Sunday. Debate moderator David Gregory of NBC News asked candidates to name three areas they would cut that would cause pain for Americans.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said cutting waste and fraud in the Medicare and Medicaid program would save $1 trillion over 10 years.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry drew laughs when he said he would cut three cabinet departments — and remembered all the names.

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