Published: Jan 06, 2012 8:46 PM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) - A look at where the 2012 Republican presidential candidates stand on a selection of issues.
    
They are former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. John Huntsman, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
    
ABORTION:
    
Gingrich: Platform calls for conservative judges and no subsidies for abortion but not a constitutional abortion ban.
    
Huntsman: Signed abortion restrictions into law as governor, favors constitutional abortion ban.
    
Paul: Says federal government should have no authority either to legalize or ban abortion.
    
Perry: Now supports constitutional abortion ban after saying states should decide their own laws on such issues.
    
Romney: Says Roe v. Wade should be reversed by a future Supreme Court and states should decide their own abortion laws.
    
Santorum: Favors constitutional abortion ban and opposes abortion even in cases of rape.
    
___
    
DEBT:
    
Gingrich: As House speaker in 1990s, engineered passage of a seven-year balanced-budget plan. It was vetoed but helped form a bipartisan balanced budget later.
    
Huntsman: Only candidate to endorse the deal that averted a default on U.S. debt payments, "a positive step toward cutting our nation's crippling debt."
    
Paul: Would eviscerate federal government, slashing nearly half its spending, shut five Cabinet-level agencies, end spending on existing conflicts and on foreign aid.
    
Perry: Proposes capping federal spending at 18 percent of GDP; few specifics on spending cuts except to raise Social Security and Medicare age in future. Cut Congress pay.
    
Romney: Defended financial sector bailout, criticized GM and Chrysler bailout. Cap federal spending at 20 percent of GDP.
    
Santorum: Freeze social and military spending for five years to cut $5 trillion from federal budgets.
    
___
    
ECONOMY:
    
Gingrich: Repeal the financial industry regulations that followed the Wall Street meltdown. Restrict the Fed's power to set interest rates artificially low.
    
Huntsman: End corporate subsidies, cut regulations, lower taxes, spur jobs through energy development, seek repeal of President Barack Obama's health care law, break up big banks as hedge against future bailouts.
    
Paul: Return to the gold standard, eliminate the Federal Reserve, eliminate most federal regulations.
    
Perry: Repeal rafts of regulations, Obama's health care law and the financial-industry regulations passed after Wall Street meltdown.
    
Romney: Lower taxes, less regulation, balanced budget, more trade deals to spur growth. Replace jobless benefits with unemployment savings accounts. Repeal new financial-industry regulations.
    
Santorum: Eliminate corporate taxes for manufacturers, drill for more oil and gas, and slash regulations.
    
___
    
EDUCATION:
    
Gingrich: Shrink Education Department. But supported Obama administration's $4 billion Race to the Top grant competition for states.
    
Huntsman: "No Child Left Behind hasn't worked for this country. It ought to be done away with." Favors more school choice.
    
Paul: Abolish the Education Department and end the federal role in education.
    
Perry: Turned down federal education aid to Texas worth up to $700 million because he saw it as imposing national standards on Texas schools. Opposed No Child Left Behind law.
    
Romney: Supported No Child Left Behind law. Once favored shutting Education Department, later saw its value in "holding down the interests of the teachers' unions."
    
Santorum: Voted for No Child Left Behind law, now regrets vote. Wants "significantly" smaller Education Department but not its elimination.
    
___
    
ENERGY:
    
Gingrich: Let oil and natural gas industries drill offshore reserves now blocked from development, end restrictions on Western oil shale development.
    
Huntsman: Phase out energy subsidies and cut regulations. Subject fuel distribution network to federal review to "break oil's monopoly" and expand opportunities for natural gas.
    
Paul: Remove restrictions on drilling, coal and nuclear power, eliminate gasoline tax, provide tax credits for alternative fuel technology.
    
Perry: Proposes more development on federal lands and slashing regulations to spur drilling in restricted areas including Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
    
Romney: Supports drilling in the Gulf, the outer continental shelves, Western lands, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore Alaska; and exploitation of shale oil deposits.
    
Santorum: Favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, scaling back "oppressive regulation" hindering drilling elsewhere, and eliminating energy subsidies in four years.
    
___
    
ENVIRONMENT:
    
Gingrich: Convert EPA into "environmental solutions agency" devoted to research and "more energy, more jobs and a better environment simultaneously." Once backed tougher environmental regulation.
    
Huntsman: End EPA's "regulatory reign of terror." Yet acknowledges the scientific evidence that humans contribute to global warming.
    
Paul: Previously said human activity "probably does" contribute to global warming; now calls such science a "hoax." Says emission standards should be set by states or regions.
    
Perry: EPA should be "research and advisory" agency with no enforcement powers except when states seek arbitration of regional disputes. Manmade global warming has "not been proven."
    
Romney: Acknowledged that humans contribute to global warming, but later said "we don't know what's causing climate change." Cap and trade would "rocket energy prices."
    
Santorum: The science establishing human activity as a likely contributor to global warming is "patently absurd" and "junk science."
    
___
    
GAY MARRIAGE:
    
Gingrich: If the Defense of Marriage Act fails, "you have no choice except a constitutional amendment" to ban gay marriage.
    
Huntsman: Supports same-sex civil unions, with many of the rights of marriage, and says states should decide their own policies.
    
Paul: Decisions on legalizing or prohibiting gay marriage should be left to states.
    
Perry: Now supports constitutional ban on gay marriage after saying states should choose their own courses.
    
Romney: Favors constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, says policy should be set federally, not by states.
    
Santorum: Supports constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, not leaving decision to states. "We can't have 50 marriage laws."
    
___
    
HEALTH CARE (All would seek repeal of Obama's health care law):
    
Gingrich: Prohibit insurers from cancelling or charging hefty increases to insurance holders who get sick. Offer "generous" tax credit to help buy insurance. Previously supported mandatory coverage.
    
Huntsman: "Let the states experiment." Open to restricting Medicare benefits for the wealthy.
    
Paul: Opposes compulsory insurance and all federal subsidies for coverage.
    
Perry: Raise eligibility age for Medicare benefits, limit benefits for the wealthy, offer federal aid to help elderly buy insurance instead of getting Medicare benefits.
    
Romney: Opposes federal mandate to obtain coverage; introduced mandate in Massachusetts. Proposes "generous" subsidies to help future retirees buy private insurance instead of going on Medicare.
    
Santorum: Would seek to starve Obama's health care law of money needed to implement it. Supported Bush administration's prescription drug program for the elderly, now regrets doing so.
    
___
    
IMMIGRATION:
    
Gingrich: In contrast to most rivals, supports option of giving legal status to illegal immigrants who have sunk roots in the U.S. and lived otherwise lawfully. Supports path to citizenship for illegal immigrants' children who perform U.S. military service. Make English the official language. Divert more Homeland Security assets to at Mexican border.
    
Huntsman: Unrealistic to deport all illegal immigrants. In Utah, threatened to veto a bill to repeal cheaper in-state college tuition rates for children of illegal immigrants.
    
Paul: Do "whatever it takes" to secure the border, end right to citizenship of U.S.-born children of ill