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Candidate Guide: Where Does Rick Santorum Stand? Candidate Guide: Where Does Rick Santorum Stand?

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CAMPAIGN 2012

Candidate Guide: Where Does Rick Santorum Stand?

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Sen. Rick Santorum speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition's 2012 Presidential Candidates Forum in Washington, on Dec. 7.(Chet Susslin)

Santorum Sweeps Mini Tuesday 2/7/12

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is a social conservative and a defense hawk running to be the Republican nominee for president in a race largely defined by the domestic economy. Here is a review of some of his key policy positions.

 

Abortion

Santorum has campaigned for support from social conservatives by emphasizing his opposition to abortion. He supports a blanket ban on abortion without exceptions for rape or incest, he has said in public statements.

“I believe that life begins at conception and that life should be guaranteed under the Constitution,” Santorum said when asked about such exceptions during a June appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press. Santorum also said he would support criminal prosecution of physicians who perform abortions.

 

During his failed reelection campaign against Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., in 2006, Santorum expressed support for allowing abortions in cases of rape and incest or to protect the life of the mother.

In another Meet the Press appearance Sunday, Santorum explained that he supported compromise positions on abortion in hopes of moving the country toward a fuller ban. “Today I would support laws that would provide for those exceptions; but I’m not for them,” he said.

Gay Marriage

Santorum opposes gay marriage and supports amending the Constitution to impose a federal ban on gay marriages. He has argued passage of such an amendment would invalidate existing gay marriages.

 

Santorum famously stirred controversy in 2003 with his comments outlining his opposition to the Supreme Court overturning a Texas sodomy law in Lawrence v. Texas. The court later overruled the law.

"If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual [gay] sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything," Santorum told the Associated Press.

"In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be,” he said.

Budget

Santorum has called for a series of broad, nonspecific steps to cut federal spending. On his campaign website, he calls for cutting $5 trillion of federal spending within five years. He also calls for reducing all federal nondefense discretionary spending to 2008 levels through across the board spending cuts. He proposes freezing defense spending at current levels.

Santorum supports passage of a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution capping government spending at 18 percent of gross domestic product. He would extend a pay freeze for nondefense related federal employees for four years; cut the federal workforce by 10 percent; and slash benefits for federal workers, according to his website.

Santorum also call for a series of specific cuts to programs unpopular with conservatives. Among them are cuts for Environmental Protection Agency funding and the elimination of federal funding for Planned Parenthood (he favors directing half of this funding to support adoption instead). Santorum also calls for ending energy subsidies and “most agriculture subsidies” within four years.

Earmarks

Santorum sought earmarks while in Congress, a position other candidates have attacked. On Sunday's Meet the Press, Santorum defended doing so by noting that federal spending has since increased. “When I left Congress, budgets began to explode,” he said.

Earmarks have never accounted for a significant portion of the federal budget, and an increase in federal spending was underway before Santorum left Congress in 2007. Santorum on Sunday continued to defend earmarking, arguing that, “there is a legitimate role for Congress to allocate resources.”

Taxes

Under what he calls the “Santorum solution,” Santorum said he would replace current income tax brackets with two rates: 10 percent and 28 percent.

In addition his plan, summarized from his campaign website, would:

• End the alternative minimum tax and estate tax

• Reduce capital-gains taxes to 12 percent, and triple the personal deduction for each child

• Eliminate a cap on deductions for losses incurred in the sale of a principal residence

• Cut the corporate income tax rate in half, from 35 to 17.5 percent

• Increase a research and development tax credit from 14 to 20 percent

• Eliminate the corporate income tax for manufacturers

• End taxes on repatriated corporate income invested for manufacturing equipment and a corporate tax on other repatriated income invested in the U.S.

Federal Courts

Santorum on his campaign website says if elected he would “call on Congress to abolish the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.” Conservatives view the court as excessively liberal and activist.

Dan Friedman contributed contributed to this article.

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