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Candidate positions for President (2012)

Read the full responses from candidates below. “Answer option” is the choice given in the quiz, and “Candidate’s position” shows the candidate’s response to MPR News.


Issue Question Position
Abortion What types of legislation would you support regarding legalized abortion? ANSWER OPTION
Life is precious and must be protected. A woman should be allowed to make her own decisions during pregnancy until the point of viability of a fetus.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Johnson's campaign website. (More Info)
Debt What should be done about the federal debt? ANSWER OPTION
Submit a balanced budget to Congress in 2013. End excessive spending, bloated stimulus programs, unnecessary farm subsidies, and earmarks. Audit the Federal Reserve. Reassess the role of the federal government and identify responsibilities that can be met more efficiently by the private sector. Recognize that you can't have limited government at home, but big government abroad. Identify and implement common-sense cost savings to place Medicare on a path toward long-term solvency. Block grant Medicare and Medicaid funds to the states, allowing them to innovate, find efficiencies and provide better service at lower cost.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Johnson's campaign website. (More Info)
Economy What would you do to invigorate the economy? ANSWER OPTION
Cut federal spending, cut taxes, and reduce federal involvement in the economy. Restrict Federal Reserve policy to maintaining price stability, not bailing out financial firms or propping up the housing sector. Legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana, rather than wasting money on an expensive and futile prohibition. Eliminate needless barriers to free trade and make it easier for would-be legal immigrants to apply for work visas.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Johnson's campaign website. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Education What changes would you make to federal education policy? ANSWER OPTION
End the Department of Education; let states expand successful reforms such as vouchers and charter schools. Schools should have the authority to decide how best to spend educational dollars. All parents should have an opportunity to choose which school their children attend.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
"Once citizens and their local representatives have the freedom to decide how their educational funds will be spent, they can consider innovations that will drive student choice, educational competition, and better results," says a statement on Johnson's campaign website. (More Info)
Energy What changes would you make to federal energy policy? ANSWER OPTION
Government subsidies and incentives for specific energy resources don't work. Cap and Trade schemes, tax subsidies, and government efforts to steer us to one energy source over another are inherently inefficient, disrupt the market, and ultimately impose costs we cannot afford.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Johnson's campaign website. (More Info)
Environment What are your views concerning the environment? ANSWER OPTION
Essential environmental protection does not require destroying jobs, infringing on property rights, or curtailing freedom. Insisting on a basic cost-benefit analysis for regulations will restore an appropriate balance and common sense to environmental policy.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Johnson's campaign website. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Same-sex marriage Should same-sex marriage be legal? ANSWER OPTION
Government should not impose its values upon marriage. It should allow marriage equality, including same-sex marriage. The definition of marriage should be left to religions and individuals -- not government.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Johnson's campaign website. (More Info)
Health care What changes would you make to federal health care policy? ANSWER OPTION
Repeal President Obama's healthcare plan, as well as the failed Medicare prescription drug benefit. Fewer government mandates and less regulation will allow innovation and competition to make health care more affordable and more accessible. Removing arbitrary obstacles to interstate competition among health insurance providers will reduce costs. Federal assistance for those who cannot afford essential health care should be provided through simple block grants to the states, where innovation will create efficiencies and better care at less cost.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Johnson's campaign website. (More Info)
Immigration What are your views concerning immigration? ANSWER OPTION
Legal immigration should be simplified, and illegal immigration should be tackled. It should be easier for a potential immigrant to get a work visa. Potential immigrants should pass a background check, and then be issued a Social Security card, which would allow them to pay income, payroll, and all other taxes workers pay. Legalizing marijuana will reduce border violence and illegal immigration significantly, decreasing the U.S.-Mexican drug trade by 70 percent.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Johnson's campaign website. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Social Security What should be done with the Social Security program? ANSWER OPTION
Fix Social Security by changing the escalator from being based on wage growth to inflation.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
"It's time for Social Security to reflect today's realities without breaking trust with retirees," a statement reads on Johnson's campaign website. (More Info)
Taxes What would you do to overhaul federal tax policy? ANSWER OPTION
Abolish the Internal Revenue Service. Enact the Fair Tax to tax expenditures, rather than income, with a 'prebate' to make spending on basic necessities tax free. With the Fair Tax, eliminate business taxes, withholding and other levies that penalize productivity, while creating millions of jobs.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Johnson's campaign website. (More Info)
Terrorism How should the federal government fight terrorism? ANSWER OPTION
The PATRIOT Act should be repealed, which would restore proper judicial oversight to federal investigations and again require federal investigators to prove probable cause prior to executing a search. No criminal or terrorist suspect captured by the U.S. should be subject to physical or psychological torture. Individuals incarcerated unjustly by the U.S. should have the ability to seek compensation through the courts.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Johnson's campaign website. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
War How should the U.S. government handle its current wars? ANSWER OPTION
Pledge to withdraw troops from Afghanistan immediately. Cut military spending by 43 percent, pledge to veto expenditures which exceed the levels necessary to eliminate the deficit, focus the military on providing a strong national defense and limited entangling foreign engagements.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Johnson's campaign website. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Abortion What types of legislation would you support regarding legalized abortion? ANSWER OPTION
Support abortion rights. Require contraceptives to be available for free for women enrolled in workplace health plans, including access to morning-after pill. Support requiring girls 16 and under to get a prescription for the morning-after pill, available without a prescription for older women.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Debt What should be done about the federal debt? ANSWER OPTION
Tackle the debt with a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases. Let Bush-era tax cuts expire for couples making more than $250,000, which would generate more than $700 billion over 10 years. Also, would set a 30 percent tax rate on taxpayers making more than $1 million, increasing taxes for some but not all millionaires and billionaires. That would generate about $47 billion over 10 years.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Economy What would you do to invigorate the economy? ANSWER OPTION
Propose tax breaks for U.S. manufacturers producing domestically or repatriating jobs from abroad, and tax penalties for U.S. companies outsourcing jobs. Supported $800 billion stimulus plan and Wall Street and auto industry bailouts begun under George W. Bush.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Education What changes would you make to federal education policy? ANSWER OPTION
Support waivers freeing states from the most onerous requirements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law with their agreement to improve how they prepare and evaluate students. Support reducing federal aid to colleges that go too far in raising tuition.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Energy What changes would you make to federal energy policy? ANSWER OPTION
Support drilling plan in Arctic Ocean opposed by environmentalists. Support a temporary moratorium on deep-water drilling after the massive BP oil spill but push for more oil and gas drilling overall. Propose Congress give oil market regulators more power to control price manipulation by speculators and stiffer fines for doing so. Embrace nuclear power as a clean source.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Environment What are your views concerning the environment? ANSWER OPTION
Support limits on carbon emissions. Reject Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas but support fast-track approval of a segment of it. Support government subsidies of green energy and tougher fuel economy standards.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Same-sex marriage Should same-sex marriage be legal? ANSWER OPTION
Yes.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP, Obama opposed the legality of same-sex marriage in 2008 presidential campaign - and in 2004 Senate campaign - while supporting the extension of legal rights and benefits to same-sex couples in civil unions. He has since reversed his stance. (More Info)
Health care What changes would you make to federal health care policy? ANSWER OPTION
Support the federal health care law passed in 2010. Under the law, insurers will be banned from denying coverage to people with pre-existing illness, tax credits for middle-income and low-income people will subsidize premiums, people without work-based insurance will have access to new markets and small business gets help for offering insurance.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Immigration What are your views concerning immigration? ANSWER OPTION
Immigrants brought illegally to the United States as children should be exempted from deportation and granted work permits if they apply.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Social Security What should be done with the Social Security program? ANSWER OPTION
Propose adopting a new measurement of inflation that would reduce annual increases in Social Security benefits. The proposal would reduce the long-term financing shortfall by about 25 percent, according to the Social Security actuaries.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Obama has not proposed a comprehensive plan to address Social Security's long-term financial problems, the AP reports. (More Info)
Taxes What would you do to overhaul federal tax policy? ANSWER OPTION
Raise taxes on the wealthy and ensure they pay 30 percent of their income at minimum. Supports extending Bush-era tax cuts for everyone making under $200,000, or $250,000 for couples. Support letting the top tax rates go back up 3 to 4 points to 39.6 percent and 36 percent, and raise rates on capital gains and dividends for the wealthy.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Terrorism How should the federal government fight terrorism? ANSWER OPTION
Support policy that U.S. would no longer use harsh interrogation techniques. Carry forward Bush's key anti-terrorism policies, including detention of suspects at Guantanamo Bay. Continue with military commissions instead of civilian courts for detainees and invocation of state secrets privilege in court. Expanded use of unmanned drone strikes against terrorist targets in Pakistan and Yemen.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
War How should the U.S. government handle its current wars? ANSWER OPTION
Have all troops out of Afghanistan by end of 2014. Support major reductions in the size of the Army and Marine Corps. Support use of U.S. air power in NATO-led campaign that helped Libyan opposition topple Moammar Gadhafi's government. Do not support air power commitment for Syrian opposition. Oppose a near-term military strike on Iran, either by the U.S. or by Israel, to sabotage nuclear facilities that could be misused to produce a nuclear weapon.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Abortion What types of legislation would you support regarding legalized abortion? ANSWER OPTION
Oppose abortion rights. State law should guide abortion rights, and Roe v. Wade should be reversed by a future Supreme Court. Would not sign pledge to advance only anti-abortion appointees for relevant administration jobs, cut off federal dollars for clinics that perform or finance abortions, and support a ban on abortions after the fetus reaches a certain stage in development.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Debt What should be done about the federal debt? ANSWER OPTION
Cap federal spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product, down from today's recession-swollen 25 percent. Favor constitutional balanced budget amendment. Propose 10 percent cut in federal workforce, elimination of $1.6 billion in Amtrak subsidies and cuts of $600 million to the public arts and broadcasting.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Economy What would you do to invigorate the economy? ANSWER OPTION
Support lower taxes, less regulation, balanced budget, more trade deals to spur growth. Replace jobless benefits with unemployment savings accounts. Propose repeal of the law (Dodd-Frank) toughening financial-industry regulations after the meltdown in that sector. Propose changing, but not repealing, the (Sarbanes-Oxley) law tightening accounting regulations in response to corporate scandals, to ease the accountability burden on smaller businesses.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Education What changes would you make to federal education policy? ANSWER OPTION
Support the federal accountability standards of No Child Left Behind law.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
In 2007, Romney said he was wrong earlier in his career when he wanted the Education Department shut down because he came to see the value of the federal government in "holding down the interests of the teachers' unions" and putting kids and parents first. (More Info)
Energy What changes would you make to federal energy policy? ANSWER OPTION
Accelerate drilling permits in areas where exploration has already been approved for developers with good safety records. Supports drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic and Pacific outer continental shelves, Western lands, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore Alaska; and supports exploitation of shale oil deposits. Reduce obstacles to coal, natural gas and nuclear energy development, because green power has yet to become viable.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Environment What are your views concerning the environment? ANSWER OPTION
We don't know what's causing climate change. Propose to remove carbon dioxide from list of pollutants controlled by Clean Air Act, and amend clean water and air laws to ensure the cost of complying with regulations is balanced against environmental benefit. Oppose cap and trade because it would lead to increase of energy prices.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Romney has in the past acknowledged the scientific consensus that humans contribute to global warming: "I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that." But now says: "My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet." (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Same-sex marriage Should same-sex marriage be legal? ANSWER OPTION
No. Favor constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage because policy should be set federally, not by states.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
"Marriage is not an activity that goes on within the walls of a state," Romney said. (More Info)
Health care What changes would you make to federal health care policy? ANSWER OPTION
Work to repeal Obama's federal health care law. States, not Washington should drive policy on the uninsured. Propose to guarantee that people who are "continuously covered" for a certain period be protected against losing insurance if they get sick, leave their job and need another policy. Would expand individual tax-advantaged medical savings accounts and let the savings be used for insurance premiums as well as personal medical costs. Would let insurance be sold across state lines to expand options, and restrict malpractice awards to restrain health care costs. Introduce "generous" subsidies to help future retirees buy private insurance instead of going on traditional Medicare. No federal requirement for people to have health insurance. On Medicaid, propose to convert program to a federal block grant administered by states.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Romney has promised to work for the repeal of Obama's federal health care law, even though it is modeled largely after his universal health care achievement in Massachusetts. (More Info)
Immigration What are your views concerning immigration? ANSWER OPTION
Favor complete U.S.-Mexico border fence, oppose education benefits to illegal immigrants. Propose more visas for holders of advanced degrees in math, science and engineering who have U.S. job offers, and would award permanent residency to foreign students who graduate from U.S. schools with a degree in those fields.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Social Security What should be done with the Social Security program? ANSWER OPTION
Raising the age for benefits and reducing inflation adjustments for rich retirees are among options that should be considered.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Taxes What would you do to overhaul federal tax policy? ANSWER OPTION
No one with adjusted gross income under $200,000 should be taxed on interest, dividends or capital gains. Cut corporate tax rate to 25 percent from a high of 35 percent. Oppose proposals to replace current tax system with national sales tax because it raises taxes on middle class while lowering them for rich and poor. Make Bush-era tax cuts, including for the wealthy, permanent. Eliminate estate tax.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
According to the AP. (More Info)
Terrorism How should the federal government fight terrorism? ANSWER OPTION
No constitutional rights for foreign terrorism suspects. Waterboarding could potentially be used to interrogate terrorist suspects.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
In 2007, Romney refused to rule out use of waterboarding to interrogate terrorist suspects. In 2011, his campaign says he does not consider waterboarding to be torture. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
War How should the U.S. government handle its current wars? ANSWER OPTION
Maintain the force level necessary to secure our gains and complete our mission successfully in Afghanistan. Obama was wrong to begin reducing troop levels as soon as he did. Increase strength of armed forces, including number of troops and warships.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
Romney has not specified the troop numbers behind his Afghanistan pledge. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Abortion What types of legislation would you support regarding legalized abortion? ANSWER OPTION
Abortion is a necessary health care option, but it will decline as women's choices expand upstream of unwanted pregnancy. By providing all women with reproductive health care and family planning, as part of a program of health care as a human right, we can greatly reduce the need for abortion.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From a statement provided to votesmart.org. (More Info)
Debt What should be done about the federal debt? ANSWER OPTION
Reduce the budget deficit by restoring full employment, cutting the bloated military budget, and cutting private health insurance waste. Eliminate needless tax giveaways. Require full disclosure of corporate subsidies in the budget and stop hiding subsidies in complicated tax code.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Stein's campaign website. (More Info)
Economy What would you do to invigorate the economy? ANSWER OPTION
Enact the Full Employment Program which will directly provide 25 million green jobs in sustainable energy, mass transit, sustainable organic agriculture, and clean manufacturing, as well as social work, teaching, and and other service jobs. Provide grants and low-interest loans to green businesses and cooperatives, with an emphasis on small, locally based companies. Renegotiate NAFTA and other "free trade" agreements that export American jobs, depress wages, and undermine the sovereign right of Americans and citizens of other countries to control their own economy. Make the minimum wage a living wage. Ensure equal pay for equal work, ending discrimination based on race, gender, or generation.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Stein's campaign website. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Education What changes would you make to federal education policy? ANSWER OPTION
Provide tuition-free education from kindergarten through college, thus eliminating the student debt crisis. Forgive existing student debt. Protect our public school systems from privatization. End high-stakes testing and stop punishing students and teachers for failures of the system in which they work. Stop denying students diplomas based on tests. Stop using merit pay to punish teachers.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Stein's campaign website. (More Info)
Energy What changes would you make to federal energy policy? ANSWER OPTION
Redirect research funds from fossil fuels and other dead-end industries toward research in renewable energy and conservation. Build a nationwide smart electricity grid that can pool and store power from a diversity of renewable sources, giving the nation clean, democratically controlled, terrorist-proof energy. Phase out nuclear power and end nuclear subsidies. End federal subsidies for "clean coal." Halt all drilling that poses a threat to public lands or water resources. Halt the Keystone XL pipeline and bring the tar sand oils under a comprehensive climate protection treaty.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Stein's campaign website. (More Info)
Environment What are your views concerning the environment? ANSWER OPTION
Create millions of green jobs in areas such as weatherization, recycling, public transportation, worker and community owned cooperatives, and energy-efficient infrastructure. Create a binding international treaty to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide to levels deemed safe by scientific analysis to reduce global warming. Phase out coal power plants to end their unacceptable harm to the climate, health and the economy. End mountaintop removal in Appalachia. Stop hydrofracking to prevent devastating pollution of groundwater.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Stein's campaign website. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Same-sex marriage Should same-sex marriage be legal? ANSWER OPTION
Yes. All people are entitled to full civil and human rights in America.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
"My administration will defend those rights for everyone, regardless of race, religion, culture, gender, or sexual preference," Stein said in a statement to votesmart.org. (More Info)
Health care What changes would you make to federal health care policy? ANSWER OPTION
Provide complete, affordable, quality health care for every American through an improved Medicare-for-all insurance program. Allow full access to all medically justified contraceptive and reproductive care. Roll back the community drivers of chronic disease, including poor nutrition, health-damaging pollution, and passive dirty transportation. Avoid chronic diseases by investing in essential community health infrastructure such as local, fresh, organic food systems, pollution-free renewable energy, phasing out toxic chemicals, and active transportation such as bike paths and safe sidewalks that dovetail with public transit. End overcharging for prescription drugs by using bulk purchasing negotiations.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Stein's campaign website. (More Info)
Immigration What are your views concerning immigration? ANSWER OPTION
Grant undocumented immigrants who are already residing and working in the United States a legal status which includes the chance to become U.S. citizens. Halt deportations of law-abiding undocumented immigrants. Demilitarize border crossings throughout North America.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Stein's campaign website. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
Social Security What should be done with the Social Security program? ANSWER OPTION
Reject cuts to Social Security and efforts to privatize it.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From a statement provided to votesmart.org and from her campaign website. (More Info)
Taxes What would you do to overhaul federal tax policy? ANSWER OPTION
Rewrite the entire tax code to be truly progressive with tax cuts for working families, the poor and middle class, and higher taxes for the richest Americans. Stop draining the non-profit sectors of our economy in order to give tax cuts to the for-profit sectors. Establish a 90 percent tax on bonuses for bailed out bankers.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Stein's campaign website. (More Info)
Terrorism How should the federal government fight terrorism? ANSWER OPTION
Repeal the PATRIOT Act that violates our constitutional right to privacy and protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Repeal the unconstitutional provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act that gives the president the power to indefinitely imprison and even assassinate American citizens without due process.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Stein's campaign website. (More Info)
Issue Question Position
War How should the U.S. government handle its current wars? ANSWER OPTION
End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, withdrawing both troops and military contractors. Demilitarize U.S. foreign policy to emphasize human rights, international law, multinational diplomatic initiatives and support for democratic movements across the world. Cut the bloated Pentagon budget by 50 percent.

CANDIDATE'S POSITION
From Stein's campaign website. (More Info)
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