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A look at where presidential candidates stand on the issues

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Associated Press
February 17, 2008
— The stands of these 2008 presidential candidates on a selection of issues: New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, Democrats; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Arizona Sen. John McCain, Republicans.
Abortion

Favor abortion rights?


Clinton: Yes.


Obama: Yes.


Huckabee: No. Favors constitutional amendment banning abortion rights.


McCain: No. Says Roe v. Wade should be overturned.


Economic Stimulus

A $161 billion package worked out by President Bush and lawmakers would provide tax rebates of up to $600 a worker or $1,200 a working couple, plus $300 a child. The package passed the House and is pending in the Senate, where some want to expand it.


Clinton: $110 billion stimulus, including $40 billion in tax rebates of $250 for low- and middle-income taxpayers.


Obama: $250 rebates to low and middle-income earners and $250 bonuses to Social Security recipients.


Huckabee: Supports Washington stimulus plan but questions “whose economy is going to be stimulated the most” if package is financed by foreign lenders and used to buy products made in China.


McCain:Cut corporate tax to 25 percent, let companies expense investments in equipment and technology in year of purchase instead of spread out.


Education

Clinton: $10 billion for universal preschool. More money for special education. Opposes performance-based merit pay for teachers, favors incentives for teachers who work in places and on subjects where shortages exist. Supported No Child Left Behind accountability law but says it has not been properly financed or run, and should be replaced. $10,000 higher education scholarships for all who engage in national service full-time for a year. Raise value of tuition tax credit to a maximum $3,500 from $1,650. :


Obama: Encourage but not require universal pre-kindergarten programs, expand teacher mentoring programs and reward teachers with higher pay not tied to standardized test scores, in $18 billion plan to be paid for in part by delaying elements of moon and Mars missions. Change No Child Left Behind “so that we’re not just teaching to a test and crowding out programs like art and music.” Tax credit to pay up to $4,000 of college expenses for students who perform 100 hours of community service a year.


Huckabee: States are responsible for education and should be given more authority to run it, not Washington.


McCain: Favors parental choice of schools, including vouchers for private schools when approved by local officials, and right of parents to choose home schooling. More money for community college education.


Gay Marriage

Prohibit it with constitutional amendment?


Clinton: No.


Obama: No.


Huckabee: Yes.


McCain: No.


Gun control

Clinton: Voted for ban on assault-type weapons and to require background checks at gun shows. Favored leaving gun-makers and dealers open to civil suits. Also, in 2000 supported proposals for a federal requirement for state-issued photo gun licenses, as well as a national registry for handgun sales.


Obama: Voted to leave gun-makers and dealers open to suit. Also, as Illinois state lawmaker, supported ban on all forms of semiautomatic weapons and tighter state restrictions generally on firearms.


Huckabee: Supports state laws allowing people to carry concealed weapons and a national “right to carry” law that would require states to recognize concealed weapons permits issued by other states.


McCain: Voted against ban on assault-type weapons, but in favor of requiring background checks at gun shows. Voted to shield gun-makers and dealers from civil suits.


Immigration

Support legal status for illegal aliens?


Clinton: Voted for 2006 bill that proposed conditional path to citizenship, and supported border fence.


Obama: Voted for 2006 bill that proposed conditional path to citizenship for illegal aliens; backed border fence.


Huckabee: Has favored allowing illegal aliens who are in the country to apply for legal status if they pay penalties, get guest worker permits, register with authorities and aren’t allowed to jump in line ahead of other applicants. As governor, opposed banning state services for illegal immigrants.


McCain: Sponsored 2006 bill that would have allowed illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S., work and apply to become legal residents after learning English, paying fines and back taxes and clearing a background check. Now says he would secure the border first. Supports border fence.


Iraq

Clinton: Voted for war, opposed troop increase, has not committed to withdrawal timetable.


Obama: “Our combat troops out within 16 months.” Opposed troop increase, spoke against war at start.


Huckabee: Now faults Bush for not sending enough troops to Iraq at the start. Supported the 2007 troop increase and would not withdraw forces any faster than recommended by commanders.


McCain: Opposes scheduling a troop withdrawal, saying latest strategy is succeeding. Supported decision to go to war, but was early critic of the manner in which administration prosecuted it. Key backer of the troop increase.


Taxes

Clinton: Raise income taxes on wealthiest and keep estate tax on them. Higher tax breaks for college. Also, would tax a portion of health insurance benefits provided to workers making more than $250,000. $1 billion paid family leave program to be financed by eliminating some tax shelters.


Obama: Raise income taxes on wealthiest and their capital gains and dividends taxes. Raise corporate taxes. $80 billion in tax breaks mainly for poor workers and elderly, including tripling Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credit for larger families. Eliminate tax-filing requirement for older workers making under $50,000. A mortgage-interest credit could be used by lower-income homeowners who do not take the mortgage interest deduction because they do not itemize their taxes.


Huckabee: Replace income and investment taxes with national sales tax, sheltering purchases up to poverty line.


McCain: Twice opposed Bush’s tax cuts, at first because he said they were tilted to the wealthiest and again because of the unknown costs of Iraq war. Now says those tax cuts, expiring in 2010, should be permanent. Proposes cutting corporate tax rate to 25 percent.



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