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Positions of the Republican candidates, in brief

By Calvin Woodward

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 17 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Republican presidential candidates, from left to right: Texas Gov. Rick Perry; former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texasm take part in the South Carolina Republican presidential candidate debate Monday, Jan. 16, 2012, in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

David Goldman, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

WASHINGTON — A look at where the 2012 Republican presidential candidates stand on a selection of issues.

They are former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 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 a constitutional abortion ban.

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

Perry: Now supports constitutional abortion ban after saying states should decide their own laws on such issues.

Romney: Says Roe v. Wade should be reversed by a future Supreme Court and states should decide their own abortion laws.

Santorum: Favors constitutional abortion ban and opposes abortion even in cases of rape.

DEBT:

Gingrich: As House speaker in 1990s, engineered passage of a seven-year balanced-budget plan. It was vetoed but helped form a bipartisan balanced budget later.

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: Proposes capping federal spending at 18 percent of GDP; few specifics on spending cuts except to raise Social Security and Medicare age in future. Cut Congress pay.

Romney: Defended financial sector bailout, criticized GM and Chrysler bailout. Cap federal spending at 20 percent of GDP.

Santorum: Freeze social and military spending for five years to cut $5 trillion from federal budgets.

ECONOMY:

Gingrich: Repeal the financial industry regulations that followed the Wall Street meltdown. Restrict the Fed's power to set interest rates artificially low.

Paul: Return to the gold standard, eliminate the Federal Reserve, eliminate most federal regulations.

Perry: Repeal rafts of regulations, Obama's health care law and the financial-industry regulations passed after Wall Street meltdown.

Romney: Lower taxes, less regulation, balanced budget, more trade deals to spur growth. Replace jobless benefits with unemployment savings accounts. Repeal new financial-industry regulations.

Santorum: Eliminate corporate taxes for manufacturers, drill for more oil and gas, and slash regulations.

EDUCATION:

Gingrich: Shrink Education Department. But supported Obama administration's $4 billion Race to the Top grant competition for states.

Paul: Abolish the Education Department and end the federal role in education.

Perry: Turned down federal education aid to Texas worth up to $700 million because he saw it as imposing national standards on Texas schools. Opposed No Child Left Behind law.

Romney: Supported No Child Left Behind law. Once favored shutting Education Department, later saw its value in "holding down the interests of the teachers' unions."

Santorum: Voted for No Child Left Behind law, now regrets vote. Wants "significantly" smaller Education Department but not its elimination.

ENERGY:

Gingrich: Let oil and natural gas industries drill offshore reserves now blocked from development, end restrictions on Western oil shale development.

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