GOP candidates for president square off - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

GOP candidates for president square off

Hanover, New Hampshire - October 11, 2011

Jobs, taxes and turning the economy around; those topics were the focus at the GOP debate at Dartmouth Tuesday.

The eight Republican candidates for president tackled the issues for about two hours.

Candidates fielded a range of questions on the economy. Some suggested minor tweaks, while others suggested blowing up the current tax system and starting fresh.

In a debate from Bloomberg Television and the Washington Post, the eight candidates sat down at a table to discuss the problem at the forefront of American politics: The economy.

Republican for president Newt Gingrich said, "Virtually every American has a reason to be angry and worried."

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has the lead in New Hampshire polls. He suggests allowing corporations a holiday to bring back funds held in other countries at a drastically reduced tax rate, and playing hardball with the Chinese to stop currency manipulation.

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman says the country should follow much of the advice from the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles plan. That plan suggested a tiered tax system with lower rates but fewer deductions.

Texas Governor Rick Perry wouldn't lay out specifics for a plan, but says the key to recovery is allowing businesses to tap energy resources and limit regulation.

But Congressman Ron Paul says these plans aren't enough. "What I hear here is just tinkering."

Paul, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain say radical change is needed.

Cain says he'd like to throw out the entire Federal Tax System, and institute his 9-9-9 plan-- 9 percent tax on sales, personal income and corporate income.

He says studies indicating the plan wouldn't bring in enough dollars are inaccurate, but GOP candidate Rick Santorum was skeptical, "I thought it was the price of a pizza when I first heard about it... how many people are for a sales tax in New Hampshire-- raise your hand."

Earlier in the day, hundreds of protesters raised signs to deliver their messages to the candidates.

Candidates are unlikely to be receptive to their viewpoints, but did all agree that repealing health care reform would allow business to grow and lead to savings, though Congressional Budget Office projections disagree.

The candidates will know just how well they did with the local voter when the nation's first primary takes place in more than a year.

The New Hampshire Primary hasn't been scheduled yet. Due to conflicts with dates set in Iowa and Nevada, it could be held as early as Dec. 3.

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