Where the candidates stand

REPUBLICANS

Mike Huckabee

www.mikehuckabee.com

Economy

Supports abolishing the Internal Revenue Service

Supports replacing current federal income, payroll, corporate and other taxes with a national "flat" sales tax

Supports a presidential line-item veto

Supports Washington's economic stimulus plan, but urges spending on infrastructure projects

Iraq

Opposes setting timetable for withdrawal

Supports regional summit for Iraq's neighboring countries to help stabilize Iraq

Supports Gen. David H. Petraeus and the troop buildup

Sees Iraq as battleground in a "generational, ideological" war on terrorism

National security

Supports expanding the Army, increasing defense budget

Supports empowering moderate Muslims by dealing with "underlying conditions" of terrorism

Supports focus on renewed diplomacy and cooperation

Supports closing Guantanamo prison

Healthcare

Opposes mandatory universal healthcare

Supports working with private sector, Congress and healthcare providers to overhaul the healthcare system

Believes private sector and states can find ways to bring down costs

Supports making health insurance policies portable and expenses tax-deductible

Immigration

Supports a 120-day window for illegal immigrants to register with federal government, leave U.S., and then apply to immigrate; supports barring offenders from reentering for 10 years

Supports tough penalties for employers that hire illegal immigrants

Supports ensuring the border fence is completed by 2010

Supports increasing the number of border agents

Energy & environment

Supports mandatory cap-and-trade measures (which would cap greenhouse gas emissions and let companies trade emissions allowances)

Believes energy independence is the way to address global warming issues

Supports increasing fuel-efficiency standards to 35 mpg by 2020

Supports nuclear power as an alternative energy source

Education

Believes that there is "value" in No Child Left Behind but that states must have the authority to enact education programs for their students

Supports making art and music an "essential" part of curriculum

Supports public-school choice and the right of parents to home-school children

Supports providing bonuses and forgiving student loans for "high-performing teachers" in low-performing schools

Abortion

Believes Roe vs. Wade should be overturned

Supports a constitutional amendment banning abortion

Gun control

Supports a national "right to carry" law that would require states to recognize concealed-weapons permits issued by other states

Opposes restoring federal ban on assault weapons

Belongs to the National Rifle Assn.

John McCain

www.johnmccain.com

Economy

Supports cutting corporate tax rate to 25%, from current 35%

Supports first-year deductions of equipment and technology investments

Supports permanent research-and-development tax credits for business

Supports repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax

Supports making Bush tax cuts permanent (though he initially opposed them)

Supports curbing congressional earmarks and "pork-barrel" projects

Supports requiring a three-fifths vote in Congress to raise taxes

Supports reducing estate taxes

Iraq

Was an early proponent of the "surge"

Believes there are not enough U.S. forces in Iraq to halt violence, secure strongholds, rebuild the economy, dismantle Al Qaeda and stabilize the country

Opposes setting a withdrawal timetable for troops

Believes the war is justified but has been mismanaged

National security

Supports increasing and modernizing U.S. military

Supports expanding and improving human intelligence capabilities

Supports developing and deploying theater and national missile defenses

Supports engaging in "battleground of ideas" to thwart terrorism recruitment

Supports closing Guantanamo prison

Healthcare

Supports controlling healthcare costs as a fundamental priority

Supports promoting competition and reforming tax code to "eliminate bias toward employer-sponsored health insurance"

Supports $2,500 tax credit to individuals, $5,000 for families

Supports making plans portable and available across state lines

Supports reforming Medicare payment systems

Immigration

Co-sponsored 2006 legislation that called for temporary-worker program and pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the U.S.

Now proposes conditional pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants after they pay fines and learn English

Believes a secure border is "essential to national security"

Voted for border fence; supports securing ports and other points of entry

Energy & environment

Supports mandatory cap-and-trade measures (which would cap greenhouse gas emissions and let companies trade emissions allowances)

Supports increasing fuel-efficiency standards

Supports nuclear power

Opposes opening Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration

Education

Supports K-12 school vouchers

Sponsored Senate legislation for tax-free savings accounts for education

Supports community college aid

Supports home-schooling

Abortion

Believes Roe vs. Wade is a "flawed decision" that should be overturned

Supports nominating judges who do not "legislate from the bench"

Supports leaving abortion legislation to the states

Gun control

Voted against ban on assault-type weapons

Opposes waiting periods for gun buyers

Voted to shield gun-makers from civil suits

Supports "instant criminal background checks" to prevent criminals from buying firearms

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Ron Paul

www.ronpaul2008.com

Economy

Supports dismantling the Internal Revenue Service and eliminating most taxes, including income, dividend and savings, payroll, estate and corporate taxes

Supports eliminating taxes on Social Security benefits, capital gains and tips for service workers

Supports legalizing gold and silver as currencies

Supports freezing nondefense, "nonentitlement" spending at current levels

Supports making Bush tax cuts permanent

Iraq

Voted against authorizing Iraq invasion in 2002, saying it unconstitutionally transferred the "congressional authority to declare war to the executive branch"

Supports withdrawing all troops immediately

Maintains that withdrawal is in national self-interest and security

National security

Supports making secure borders top defense priority

Supports refocusing military and intelligence efforts on locating terrorists

Introduced legislation to allow president to authorize "private sources" to capture or kill enemies

Supports a foreign policy of nonintervention

Supports closing Guantanamo prison

Healthcare

Supports eliminating federal regulations that discourage small business from providing coverage

Supports making all medical expenses tax-deductible

Supports making every individual eligible for Health Savings Accounts

Voted against 2003 Medicare prescription drug law for seniors

Immigration

Supports building border fence and increasing physical security along border

Opposes amnesty and social services for illegal immigrants

Opposes birthright citizenship

Supports detaining and deporting illegal immigrants

Energy & environment

Supports repealing federal regulations and taxes that "impede development" of new energy sources

Maintains that the "key to sound environmental policy" is strict enforcement of property rights

Supports drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Cosponsored legislation to encourage development of alternative energy sources

Education

Supports abolishing Education Department, returning functions to states

Supports funding schools with local taxes

Introduced legislation to create tax credit of up to $5,000 per student per year for elementary and/or secondary school -- including private, parochial, religious and home schools

Introduced legislation to make undergraduate college tuition, "reasonable" living expenses and interest on qualified student loans fully tax-deductible

Abortion

Believes Roe vs. Wade should be overturned

Believes states should have authority over abortion issues

Sponsored legislation that would prohibit federal courts from interfering with state abortion legislation

Gun control

Opposes federal gun-control laws

Opposes reinstituting assault- weapons ban; sponsored legislation to repeal assault-weapons ban before it expired in 2004

Sponsored legislation to allow individuals to carry firearms in national parks

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Mitt Romney

www.mittromney.com

Economy

Supports cutting corporate tax rate to 20%, from current 35%

Supports letting firms deduct 100% of new equipment costs for two years

Supports reducing lowest individual income tax bracket to 7.5%, from current level of 10%

Supports eliminating estate tax

Supports eliminating Social Security payroll taxes for workers older than 65

Supports making Bush tax cuts permanent

Supports eliminating taxes on savings, dividends and capital gains for those earning less than $200,000 a year

Supports expanding FHA loan limits to assist homeowners "in trouble"

Iraq

Supports Bush troop buildup

Supports keeping troops in Iraq "until we have brought success"

Supports Gen. David H. Petraeus' assessment

National security

Supports increasing military by 100,000 troops

Supports dedicating at least 4% of gross domestic product to defense

Supports strengthening global alliances and working with Middle Eastern allies to support moderate Muslims

Supports keeping Guantanamo open (he has suggested doubling its size)

Healthcare

Supports expanding and deregulating the private health insurance market to extend coverage to all

Supports instituting tax reforms and encouraging state-level reforms

Supports full deductibility of qualified medical expenses

As governor of Massachusetts, signed legislation requiring near-universal coverage for state residents

Immigration

Opposes pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants

Supports building border fence and securing other entry points

Supports an employment verification system that uses biometric identification cards

Supports tougher penalties for employers that hire illegal immigrants

Would punish "sanctuary cities"

Energy & environment

Believes carbon emission reductions must be enacted globally

Supports making energy independence a top administration priority

Supports increasing federal spending on energy-related research

Supports accelerating construction of nuclear power plants

Supports increasing domestic production, including opening Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development

Education

Supports local control of schools

Supports school choice and charter schools

Supports a federal tax credit for home-schoolers

Proposes to "enhance" No Child Left Behind

Supports tax cuts to help families save for college

Abortion

Believes Roe vs. Wade should be overturned

Supports leaving abortion laws to the states

Previously supported abortion rights

Gun control

Believes individuals have the right to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment Supports appointing judges who will "strictly interpret" the Constitution to guard the 2nd Amendment

As governor, supported state's gun control laws; signed a measure permanently banning assault weapons; supported gun-purchase waiting periods

DEMOCRATS

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Hillary Rodham Clinton

www.hillaryclinton.com

Economy

Supports $110-billion economic stimulus plan, including: $40billion in tax rebates for working-class and middle-class families; $30billion in emergency housing aid for states and cities; $25billion for families facing increased heating bills; $10billion to extend and broaden unemployment insurance

Supports 90-day foreclosure moratorium on sub-prime mortgages on owner- occupied homes

Supports five-year rate freeze on sub-prime adjustable rate mortgages

Supports more accountability for mortgages

Supports more than $10 billion in infrastructure funding for states

Iraq

Voted to authorize Iraq invasion in 2002

Supports three-step plan to end war: begin phased troop withdrawal within 60 days in office;redeploy some troops to ensure regional stability;convene group of key allies, global powers and states bordering Iraq to stabilize the region

National security

Supports modernizing and reforming U.S. intelligence services

Supports strengthening and rebuilding alliances in Europe; proposes partnerships in Asia and other areas of the world

Supports reinforcing military efforts in Afghanistan

Maintains that a strong military is essential for national security

Supports closing Guantanamo prison

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Healthcare

Supports requiring all individuals to have coverage

Supports requiring large employers to provide coverage or pay into a public program

Supports tax credit to businesses with 25 or fewer employees

Supports tax credits to working families

Supports a public/private pool of plans similar to those Congress members have

Supports portability of insurance plans

Supports expanding Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program

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Immigration

Supports pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who learn English and pay fines

Supports border fence

Supports employment verification system, along with tougher penalties for employers that hire illegal immigrants

Supports family reunification as basic immigration principle

Supports agricultural jobs program, but opposes guest worker program that may exploit workers

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Energy & Environment

Supports cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050

Supports 10-year, $150-billion energy package, including $50-billion Strategic Energy Fund to develop alternative energy sources

Supports increasing fuel-efficiency standards to 55 mpg by 2030

Supports a transition to renewable-energy sources, with a goal of generating 25% of electricity by 2025

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Education

Supports universal preschool and doubling after-school programs

Supports ending No Child Left Behind

Supports investing $100 million in new public/private summer internship program

Supports $3,500 college tax credit and bigger Pell Grants

Supports investing $500 million in community colleges

Supports $10,000 college scholarships for those who participate in AmeriCorps for a year

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Abortion

Supports abortion rights

Supports appointing justices who will uphold Roe vs. Wade and right to privacy

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Gun control

Voted for ban on assault-type weapons and to require background checks at gun shows

Supported leaving gun-makers open to civil suits

Supported, in 2000, proposals for a federal requirement for state-issued photo-ID gun licenses, as well as a national registry for handgun sales

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Barack Obama

www.barackobama.com

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Economy

Supports $120-billion economic stimulus package, including: immediate $250 tax credit for 150million workers and further $250 tax credit per worker if employment declines three months in a row; $250 payment to Social Security recipients and additional $250 payment if employment declines three months in a row; $10-billion "foreclosure prevention fund"; $10billion to help states and local governments hit hardest by the housing crisis; $10billion to extend and broaden unemployment insurance

Supports laws to combat mortgage fraud

Supports a mortgage interest tax credit for filers who don't itemize

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Iraq

Opposed invading Iraq

Has voted in Senate to authorize war funding

Supports full withdrawal of combat brigades within 16 months; supports leaving some troops to protect diplomats and keep Al Qaeda from gaining "foothold"

Opposes permanent military bases in Iraq

Supports aggressive regional diplomatic efforts to stabilize the region

Supports financial support for Iraqi reconstruction and humanitarian aid

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National security

Supports improving intelligence information-sharing and analysis at all levels of government

Supports expanding U.S. diplomatic presence in the world, strengthening NATO and seeking new partnerships in Asia

Supports expanding the military, adding 65,000 to the Army and 27,000 to the Marines

Supports revising the Patriot Act

Supports closing Guantanamo prison

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Healthcare

Supports requiring parents to obtain coverage for children

Supports requiring all employers to provide coverage or contribute to costs, except smallest businesses

Supports subsidies for low-income people

Supports national health plan to allow individuals to buy coverage similar to congressional members', plus a national pool of private plans

Supports portability of insurance plans

Supports expanding Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program

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Immigration

Supports pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants in good standing who learn English and pay fines

Supports border fence and additional personnel to secure borders

Supports tougher penalties for employers that hire illegal immigrants; supports employment verification system

Supports greater emphasis on keeping immigrant families together

Supports improving speed and accuracy of immigrant background checks

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Energy & environment

Supports market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050

Supports investing $150 billion over 10 years in "clean" energy sources

Supports requiring that 25% of electricity be generated by renewable energy sources by 2025

Supports doubling fuel-efficiency standards by 2026

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Education

Supports quadrupling Early Head Start program; increasing Head Start funding; providing affordable, high-quality child care; and doubling funding for after-school programs

Supports reforming No Child Left Behind

Supports Teacher Service Scholarships that would cover four years of undergraduate or two years of graduate teacher education in exchange for teaching at least four years in a high-need field or location

Supports $4,000 college education tax credit

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Abortion

Supports abortion rights; would make "preserving women's rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as president"

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Gun control

Voted to leave gun-makers open to lawsuits

Supported, as an Illinois state legislator, a ban on all forms of semiautomatic weapons and tighter state restrictions on firearms in general

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