Here’s a look at where the four top candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination in Tuesday’s Michigan primary stand on social issues, federal health care, taxes and immigration.
Newt Gingrich: Anti-abortion rights, including in cases of rape or incest. In the ’90s, he said he would consider exceptions. Wants to defund Planned Parenthood and ban any organization receiving federal money from performing abortions. Pledged to appoint judges who believe life begins at conception. Believes marriage should be between one man and one woman.
Ron Paul: Anti-abortion rights, saying cases of rape or incest could be dealt with by the morning-after pill. Would leave abortion policies up to states. Would prohibit taxpayer funds from being used for abortions and defund Planned Parenthood. Believes marriage is between one man and one woman but that marriage policies should be set by states, not federal government.
Mitt Romney: Anti-abortion rights, though supports exceptions in cases of rape or incest. Favored abortion rights as a candidate in Massachusetts, but changed his position while considering an embryonic stem-cell bill as governor. Declined to sign anti-abortion pledge, but said he would appoint judges who would follow the Constitution as intended. Believes marriage should be between one man and one woman.
Rick Santorum: Anti-abortion rights, including in cases of rape or incest, and wrote abortion-limiting legislation in the U.S. Senate. Wants to defund Planned Parenthood and would ban any organization receiving federal money from performing abortions. Signed pledge to appoint only judges who would follow the Constitution. Believes marriage should be between one man and one woman.
Federal health care
Gingrich: Repeal heath care reform legislation. Supports tax credit for individuals to deduct the cost of health insurance. Would allow Medicare recipients to choose private-sector benefits. Have states cover the sickest individuals with high-risk pools.
Paul: Repeal health care reform legislation. Provide tax credits and deductions for all medical expenses. Questions Medicare’s constitutionality but hasn’t called for getting rid of it, though he thinks younger workers should be able to opt out.
Romney: Repeal federal health care reform legislation. Signed a similar bill while Massachusetts governor, including an individual mandate, but says that’s appropriate state — not federal — legislation. With Medicare, supports plan to allow people not yet 55 to receive support to buy the private plan of their choice upon retirement.
Santorum: Repeal health care reform legislation. Allow individuals to purchase coverage with pretax dollars. On Medicare, supports plan to allow people not yet 55 to receive support to buy the private plan of their choice upon retirement.
Gingrich: Keep tax rates from rising on higher incomes. Give people the option to pay a 15% flat tax. Eliminate the capital gains tax and cut the corporate income tax from a top rate of 35% to 12.5%.
Paul: Supports abolishing individual income and estate taxes, repealing capital gains taxes and getting rid of the Internal Revenue Service. Fund government through excise taxes, tariffs and corporate taxes. Could support a flat tax as an alternative to the current system.
Romney: Keep tax rates from going up on higher incomes. Eliminate dividend and capital gains taxes for taxpayers making less than $200,000 a year. Move toward flatter, simpler tax structure. Cut top corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%.
Santorum: Cut income tax brackets to two, with top being a 28% rate. Lower capital gains taxes, currently 15%, to 12%. Eliminate estate tax and triple the personal deduction for each child. Halve top corporate tax rate of 35% and eliminate it for manufacturers.
Gingrich: Improve border control with fencing and drone flights. Create a more efficient visa program for workers, visitors and students, as well as a guest worker program. Develop a system to repatriate illegal immigrants while creating a process to legal residency for those with long-standing ties to the U.S.
Paul: Improve border security and deport anyone in the U.S. illegally. Stop providing any services to illegal immigrants and end birthright citizenship to children born to women in the country illegally.
Romney: Supports border fence but believes cutting benefits for illegal immigrants is important to stop flow across the border. Supports a guest worker program. Does not plan to round up illegal immigrants but says after a transition period, they will not have the documentation needed to work and will leave.
Santorum: Expand border fence and put more border patrols on duty. Enforce immigration laws through employer verification while creating a guest worker program. Believes illegal immigrants will self-deport if rules are enforced.