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What the GOP Debaters Said on the Economy What the GOP Debaters Said on the Economy What the GOP Debaters Said on the Economy What the GOP Debaters Sai...

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Politics / Campaign 2012

What the GOP Debaters Said on the Economy

photo of Michael Catalini
September 22, 2011

For regular observers, Thursday's debate in Orlando, Fla., saw familiar themes developed: calls for lower taxes, criticisms of President Obama, and attacks on the size and scope of the government. 

Here's a closer look at how the candidates responded when asked about the economy or jobs, the fourth installment:

Michele Bachmann: As she has done in previous debates, Bachmann indicted President Obama's health care bill—"Obamacare." She said repealing the law would be the first thing she would do if elected.

Herman Cain: After rolling it out two debates ago, Cain extolled his 9-9-9 plan on Thursday night. Here's a refresher: The plan calls for 9 percent rates for corporate, individual, and sales taxes across the board. This time, Cain added that leadership would be a key component of strengthening the economy.

Newt Gingrich: Gingrich touted going from a deficit to a surplus while he was House speaker, a talking point that Democrats usually credit to Bill Clinton. The best thing for the economy, though, he said, would be for a Republican to win in 2012. "Nothing will turn things around more than election night, when Obama loses decisively," he said.

Jon Huntsman: The former Utah governor and Obama administration ambassador to China touched on three points he brought up during the last debate: Tax reform, serious regulatory reform, and energy independence.

Gary Johnson: Returning to the debate stage for the first time since May, New Mexico's libertarian former governor won applause when he said, dramatically, "Balance the federal budget—now." He also had perhaps the biggest laugh line of the night when he said that his neighbor's "two dogs created more shovel-ready jobs than this president."

Ron Paul: The congressman from Texas remained consistent on Thursday: "Government destroys jobs; markets create them," he said. As he's done before, Paul also suggested that the federal reserve should be abolished.

Rick Perry: Perry, the governor of Texas, said repealing the health care law, lowering taxes, and establishing a business "friendly" regulatory environment would help the economy. "Look what we've done in Texas," Perry said.

Mitt Romney: Romney's position on Thursday would be familiar to regular debate watchers: The former Massachusetts governor touted his business background and pointed to his 59-point plan, which includes tax cuts on savings accounts and capital gains.

Rick Santorum: The former senator from Pennsylvania sheathed his arguments about reducing tax rates and bringing jobs back to America and instead argued that the "president doesn't understand what America is all about. … President Obama is the new King George III," he said.

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