With the race for the GOP nomination wide open heading into the Florida primary on Tuesday, the four remaining candidates have been working to differentiate their proposals and ideas. Here’s what they had to say.
ON THE HOUSING MARKET:
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum: Let capitalism work. Allow these banks to realize their losses and create an opportunity for folks who have houses to realize their losses and at least help them out. That’s what I proposed in my tax plan. I talk about five areas where I allow deductions. One of them would be to be able to deduct losses from the sale of your home. Right now, you can’t do that.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: You’re going to have to help people see if they can get more flexibility from their banks. Right now, with Dodd-Frank, we made it harder for banks to renegotiate mortgages to help people get out.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: If you could repeal Dodd-Frank tomorrow morning, you would see the economy start to improve overnight. Fed regulators are slowing down and making it harder to make loans to housing, and it is crippling small-business borrowing.
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ON MADE IN AMERICA:
Santorum: I’m the only person on this stage that will do something about it. I’ve got a specific plan in place…called the “made in the USA plan” for exactly these kinds of companies that have great technology and then go somewhere else to make them because America is uncompetitive. And that’s why we have to cut the corporate tax to zero for all corporations who manufacture and process in this country.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul: You have to create the right conditions to bring these companies back, and they have to bring their capital back and should be taxed.
ON REPEALING HEALTH CARE:
Romney: We’ll replace it, and I’ve laid out what I’ll replace it with. First, it’s a bill that does care for people that have preexisting conditions. If they’ve got a preexisting condition and they’ve been previously insured, they won’t be denied insurance going forward. Secondly, I’d allow people to own their own insurance, rather than just be able to get it from their employer. I want people to be able to take their insurance with them if they go from job to job. So we’ll make it work in the way that’s designed to have health care act like a market, a consumer market, as opposed to have it run like Amtrak and the post office.
Santorum: I’ll return the power to the states, where the power for caring for the uninsured ought to reside constitutionally.…[I] was the author of health savings accounts, which is the primary basis of every single conservative reform of health care.
Gingrich: You have to first of all control the border. We have a bill that would have it controlled by January 1, 2014. And I’m prepared both to waive all federal regulations to get it built and controlled by 2014, and I’m prepared to move up to half the people who work for Homeland Security…to Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, if that’s what it took to control the border.…I would actually modernize the legal system of visas, because currently we make it too difficult to come here legally and too easy to come here illegally.…I would make it much easier to deport people.…I favor a guest-worker program.”
Romney: You build a fence. You have enough border patrol agents to secure the fence. And you also have a system of giving — to people who come here legally — an identification card, and you expect employers, and insist that employers, check that card before they hire someone.…If they don’t check the card, if they don’t run it through the U.S. database and get an instant response from the government…then those employers are going to get severely sanctioned. If you do that, we solve the problem of illegal immigration.
ON THEIR OPPONENTS:
Santorum: Grandiosity has never been a problem with Newt Gingrich. He handles it very well….But at times, you’ve just got, you know, sort of that, you know, worrisome moment that something’s going to pop. And we can’t afford that in a nominee.
Romney: Mr. Speaker, you talk about all the things you did with Ronald Reagan and the Reagan revolution and the jobs created during the Reagan years and so forth. I mean, I looked at the Reagan diary. You’re mentioned once in Ronald Reagan’s diary. And in the diary, he says you had an idea in a meeting of young congressmen, and it wasn’t a very good idea and he dismissed it.
Gingrich: You end up with a guy (Romney) who’s, I think, a very good salesman, very much wants to sell, but he has a really weak product.
Gingrich: I have an offer to the parents of America: Elect us and your kids will be able to move out, because they’ll have work.
Paul: If you send money to China — let’s say they’re paying wages over there and we send dollars over there — they don’t put the dollars in a shoe box.”