POLITICS

Where do the candidates stand on the issues?

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Huntsman: Used tax credits to promote clean energy in Utah but says he has learned that "subsidies don't work and that we can no longer afford them." Favors phasing out all energy subsidies and cutting regulatory obstacles to drilling and production. Says nation's fuel distribution network should be subject to Federal Trade Commission and Senate Judiciary Committee review because it gives oil an unfair advantage over natural gas. "We need to break oil's monopoly as a transportation fuel, and create a truly level playing field for competing fuels."

Paul: Remove restrictions on drilling, coal and nuclear power, eliminate gasoline tax, provide tax credits for alternative fuel technology.

Perry: 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 environmentally risky fracturing techniques and horizontal drilling.

Romney: Accelerate drilling permits in areas where exploration has already been approved for developers with good safety records. Supports drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic and Pacific outer continental shelves, Western lands, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore Alaska; and supports exploitation of shale oil deposits. Reduce obstacles to coal, natural gas and nuclear energy development. Says green power has yet to become viable.

Santorum: Favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and scaling back "oppressive regulation" hindering drilling elsewhere.

ENVIRONMENT:

Bachmann: Open federal lands to economic activity by "repealing radical environmental laws that kill access to natural resources." Voted to bar Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases. Opposes cap and trade.

Gingrich: Convert EPA into an "environmental solutions agency" devoted to scientific research and "more energy, more jobs and a better environment simultaneously." Supported tougher environmental regulation early in congressional career.

Huntsman: End the EPA's "regulatory reign of terror." Acknowledges the scientific evidence that humans contribute to global warming. As governor, supported regional cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and urged Congress to cap them. "I will break down barriers to the continued, safe use of fracking," an environmentally risky technique for extracting natural gas.

Paul: In 2008, said "human activity probably does play a role" in global warming and part of the solution should be to stop subsidizing the oil industry and let prices rise until the free market turns to alternate energy sources. Now calls the science on manmade global warming a "hoax." Says emission standards should be set by states or regions, not Washington.

Perry: 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. Supports environmentally risky techniques for extracting natural gas.

Romney: Spending a fortune to cut the emissions linked to global warming "is not the right course for us." Has acknowledged the scientific consensus that humans contribute to global warming: "I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that." But now says: "My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet." Proposes to remove carbon dioxide from list of pollutants controlled by Clean Air Act, and amend clean water and air laws to ensure the cost of complying with regulations is balanced against environmental benefit. Says cap and trade would "rocket energy prices."

Santorum: The science establishing human activity as a likely contributor to global warming is "patently absurd" and "junk science."

GAY MARRIAGE:

Bachmann: Supports constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Says federal law trumps state law on the issue but she "would not be going into the states to overturn their state law."

Gingrich: If the Defense of Marriage Act fails, "you have no choice except a constitutional amendment" to ban gay marriage. Under the act, the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriage and no state is forced to recognize a same-sex marriage validated by another state.

Huntsman: Supports same-sex civil unions, with many of the rights of marriage, and says states should decide their own policies.

Paul: Says decisions on legalizing or prohibiting should be left to states. Supports federal law allowing one state to refuse to recognize the same-sex marriages of another state.

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

Romney: Favors constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, says policy should be set federally, not by states. "Marriage is not an activity that goes on within the walls of a state."

Santorum: Supports constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, not leaving decision to states. "We can't have 50 marriage laws." "Abraham Lincoln said the states do not have the right to do wrong. I respect the 10th Amendment, but we are a nation that has values. We are a nation that was built on a moral enterprise, and states don't have the right to tramp over those because of the 10th Amendment."

HEALTH CARE:

Bachmann: Promises to seek repeal of Obama's health care law. Favors limits on medical lawsuits as a way to control health care costs. Voted against expanding Children's Health Insurance Program and against regulating tobacco as a drug.

Gingrich: Repeal Obama's health care law if Republicans win congressional majorities. Prohibit insurers from cancelling or charging discriminatory rate increases to those who become sick while insured, which is an element of Obama's law. Offer the choice of a "generous" tax credit to help people buy health insurance or the ability to deduct part of the cost from taxes, another feature similar to the existing law. Limit medical lawsuits to restrain health care costs and let people in one state buy policies in another. "Block-grant Medicaid and send it back to the states." Previously supported proposals that people be required to carry health insurance.

Huntsman: "Let the states experiment." Says government should "absolutely not" require anyone to have health insurance, although he once said a mandate would be necessary for any comprehensive change to succeed. Open to restricting Medicare benefits for the wealthy. Seek repeal of Obama's health care law.

Paul: 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.

Perry: Repeal Obama health care law. Raise eligibility age for Medicare benefits, limit benefits for the wealthy and give people the choice of receiving federal aid to help purchase their own insurance instead of getting the direct benefits of the current system. Proposes turning Medicaid over to the states with no-strings federal support. Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured people in the nation. Signed a law that would allow Texas - subject to federal approval - to band together with other states and take over the role of providing health care coverage for the elderly, the poor and the disabled.

Romney: Promises to work for the repeal of the federal health care law modeled largely after his universal health care achievement in Massachusetts because he says states, not Washington, should drive policy on the uninsured. Proposes to guarantee that people who are "continuously covered" for a certain period be protected against losing insurance if they get sick, leave their job and need another policy.

Would expand individual tax-advantaged medical savings accounts and let the savings be used for insurance premiums as well as personal medical costs. Would let insurance be sold across state lines to expand options, and restrict malpractice awards to restrain health care costs. Introduce "generous" but undetermined subsidies to help future retirees buy private insurance instead of going on traditional Medicare.

No federal requirement for people to have health insurance. His Massachusetts plan requires people to have coverage, penalizes those who don't, and penalizes businesses of a certain size if they do not provide coverage to workers. His state has highest percentage of insured in nation. On Medicaid, proposes to convert program to a federal block grant administered by states

Santorum: Would seek to starve Obama's health care law of money needed to implement it. Supported Bush administration's prescription drug program for the elderly.

IMMIGRATION:

Bachmann: Favors fence all along the 1,900-mile U.S.-Mexico border, not just the 650 miles built at a cost of $2.6 billion. Opposes government benefits for illegal immigrants and their children.

Gingrich: In contrast to most rivals, supports giving legal status to illegal immigrants who have sunk roots in the U.S. and lived otherwise lawfully. "If you've been here 25 years and you got three kids and two grandkids, you've been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don't think we're going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out." Supports path to citizenship for illegal immigrants' children who perform U.S. military service. Make English the official language. Divert more Homeland Security assets to fighting illegal immigration at Mexican border.

Huntsman: Unrealistic to deport all illegal immigrants. Says a fence is probably a necessary step to securing the border even though "the thought of a fence to some extent repulses me, because it is not consistent with the image that we projected to the rest of the world." In Utah, threatened to veto a bill to repeal cheaper in-state college tuition rates for children of illegal immigrants.

Paul: 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.

Perry: Opposes complete U.S.-Mexico border fence, which he calls "idiocy," instead wants more border agents. Supports continued U.S. citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants can get in-state tuition at Texas universities if they meet other residency requirements. Neither employers nor state agencies required to run job applicants through a federal database to determine their legal status. Illegal immigrants have access to services for drug treatment, mental health and children with special health care needs.

Romney: Favors complete U.S.-Mexico border fence, opposes education benefits to illegal immigrants. Proposes more visas for holders of advanced degrees in math, science and engineering who have U.S. job offers, and would award permanent residency to foreign students who graduate from U.S. schools with a degree in those fields.

Santorum: Supports complete border fence, opposes letting children of illegal immigrants qualify for cheaper in-state tuition and says federal government should not require states to offer any social services to illegal immigrants. Favors making English the official language.

SOCIAL SECURITY:

Bachmann: Keep Social Security for older workers and "wean everybody else off." Says it is "very likely" that the age for retirement benefits will have to go up for new workers.

Gingrich: Give younger workers the option of diverting Social Security taxes to private retirement accounts.

Huntsman: Open to raising the retirement age to qualify for full benefits and to restricting benefits for the wealthy.

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

Perry: Proposes raising retirement age for full benefits and restricting increases in benefits for the wealthy. Previously

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