GOP presidential hopefuls offer thoughts on abortion, immigratio - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

GOP presidential hopefuls offer thoughts on abortion, immigration

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CLEVELAND (AP)  --  The opening moments of the first debate of the 2016 presidential election were all about Donald Trump, who refused to rule out running as an independent.
   
At center stage, the GOP frontrunner was the only one of 10 candidates to raise his hands when the Fox News hosts asked if anyone onstage would not pledge to support the eventual party nominee.

"I will not make the pledge at this time," Trump said.

That enraged Sen. Rand Paul, who said Trump was "already hedging his bets because he's used to buying politicians."

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says defunding Planned Parenthood is only one strategy for addressing revelations contained in recently released videos.

Huckabee proposed during Thursday's debate he would like to see the Constitution adjusted to protect the rights of unborn children.

"It's time we admit the Supreme Court is not the supreme being," he said.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is defending his statement last year that people in this country illegally have committed "an act of love."

During the GOP presidential debate, Bush said most people staying in the country illegally are trying to provide for their family, a position that earned him groans from the audience in the Quicken Loans Arena.

But Bush says fixing the immigration system is more important than figuring out why people are in the country illegally.

And Bush has called for limiting legal immigration based on family ties, and expanding it for economic reasons.

Bush, whose wife is a naturalized Mexican immigrant, says: "There's much to do. Rather than talking about this as a wedge issue, the next president will fix this once and for all, as a driver for high, sustained economic growth."

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio says many U.S. citizens feel taken advantage of when it comes to immigration.

"This is the most generous country in the world when it comes to immigration," he said.

He took issue with celebrity businessman Donald Trump's assertion the Mexico is to blame for America's illegal immigration problem. Most illegal immigrants, Rubio says, are coming from countries such as Guatamala and El Salvador and are overstaying their welcome, as opposed to sneaking over the border.

Rubio says his Senate office takes phone calls frequently with people who are frustrated with the slow legal immigration process and wonder if they should just come illegally.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is defending his statement last year that people in this country illegally have committed "an act of love."

During the GOP presidential debate, Bush said most people staying in the country illegally are trying to provide for their family, a position that earned him groans from the audience in the Quicken Loans Arena.

But Bush says fixing the immigration system is more important than figuring out why people are in the country illegally.

And Bush has called for limiting legal immigration based on family ties, and expanding it for economic reasons.

Bush, whose wife is a naturalized Mexican immigrant, says: "There's much to do. Rather than talking about this as a wedge issue, the next president will fix this once and for all, as a driver for high, sustained economic growth."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul fundamentally disagree about the collection of telephone records. But the policy difference about constitutional rights versus national security is turning personal.

Christie, a former U.S. attorney, says: "I'm the only person on this stage who's actually filed applications under the Patriot Act. ... This is not theoretical to me. I went to the funerals."

Paul blasted back, "You fundamentally misunderstand the Bill of Rights." He shouted across the stage to Christie: "Use the Fourth Amendment! Get a warrant! Get a judge to sign a warrant!"

Christie slammed Paul's Senate filibuster, saying, "When you're sitting in a subcommittee blowing hot air about this you can say things about that."

Ben Carson has one of the quips of the night so far at the first GOP presidential debate in Cleveland.
   
He was asked whether he would support a return to using waterboarding to obtain information from terrorists. His response: "Thank you. ... I wasn't sure I was going to get to talk again."

With 10 candidates on stage, there's a lot of space between when each gets a turn to speak.

Carson, by the way, didn't say where he stood on the issue, saying he didn't think it was wise to telegraph America's military strategy to its enemies.
 

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