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2012 Republican Party Presidential Candidates

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From left: Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. From left: Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

Newt Gingrich

Bio:

Newt Gingrich, 68, is a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination. He and his wife Callista reside in McLean, Virginia. Their family includes two daughters and two grandchildren.

Gingrich received his undergraduate degree from Emory University. He then earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Tulane University. In the 1970's he taught history and geography at West Georgia College.

During his teaching day, he ran several times for the United States House of Representatives before winning in November 1978. He served as House Minority Whip from 1989 to 1995. Gingrich served as the 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999.

After leaving the House, Gingrich remained active in public policy debates. He also worked as a political consultant. He founded and chaired several policy think tanks and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has written or co-authored 27 books. He announced his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on in May 2011.

Platform:

Gingrich's economic campaign is focused on creating jobs through economic growth. He says he plans to do that by cutting taxes and reducing regulations. Gingrich also wants to cut non-defense discretionary spending, further reducing the deficit.

His 21st Century Contract with America consists of four main components:

1. Legislative proposals that will shift America back to job creation, prosperity, freedom, and safety.

2. A Day One Plan of Executive Orders to be signed on inauguration day that will immediately dismantle much of Obama's government and transform the way the executive branch works.

3. A training program for the transition teams and the appointees who will lead the shift back to Constitutional, limited government.

4. A system of citizen involvement that will help sustain grassroots support for change and help implement the change through 2021.

Read more about Newt Gingrich and his "21st Century Contract with America!"


Ron Paul

Bio:

Ron Paul, 76, a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination. Paul has been married to Carol Wells since 1957. They have five children.

Paul earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from Duke University's School of Medicine in 1961, and completed his medical internship at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Paul served as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force from 1963 to 1965 and then in the United States Air National Guard from 1965 to 1968.

He worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist from the 1960s to the 1980s, delivering more than 4,000 babies.

Paul has served in Congress three different times. The first stint was from 1976 to 1977, after he won a special election. Then her served again from 1979 to 1985 and finally since 1997. In July of 2011, he announced he would forego seeking another term in Congress to focus on his presidential bid.

Platform:

Paul's "Plan to Restore America" includes cutting $1 trillion in spending, slashing taxes, abolishing the Transportation Security Administration and returning responsibility for security to private property owners. His plan also calls for eliminating five cabinet departments, Energy, HUD, Commerce, Interior and Education.

Paul also wants to abolish corporate subsidies, stop foreign aid, end foreign wars and return most other spending to 2006 levels. His plan includes making a 10% reduction in the federal workforce, slashes Congressional pay and perks and curbs excessive federal travel.

Read more about Ron Paul and his "Plan to Restore America!"


Mitt Romney

Bio:

Mitt Romney, 64, is a one of the GOP candidates for president. He married Ann Romney in 1969 and they have five children.

Romney received his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University, and then earned a joint JD and MBA from Harvard University. After graduation, he entered the management consulting business, which led to a position at Bain & Company and eventually served as CEO. He also was the co-founder and head of the spin-off company Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm.

Romney went on to become the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007. He did not seek re-election.

Platform:

Romney wants to rebuild the economy on the principles of free enterprise, hard work and innovation. His Believe in America plan seeks to reduce taxes, spending, regulation and government programs. It also calls to increase trade, energy production, human capital and labor flexibility. It relinquishes power to the states instead of claiming to have the solution to every problem.

Read more about Mitt Romney and his "Believe in America" plan!


Rick Santorum

Bio:

Rick Santorum, 53, is a one of the GOP candidates for president. Santorum and his wife of 21 years, Karen, are the parents of seven children.

Santorum attended Pennsylvania State University for his undergraduate studies. Then he completed a one-year Master of Business Administration program at the University of Pittsburgh's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, graduating in 1981. Santorum received a JD with honors from the Dickinson School of Law in 1986. After graduating, Santorum was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar and practiced law for four years at the Pittsburgh law firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, now known as K&L Gates.

In 1990, at age 32, Santorum was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to represent Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district. Santorum served in the United States Senate representing Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2007. In January 2007, Santorum joined the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a D.C.-based conservative think tank as director of its America's Enemies Program. In February 2007 he signed a deal to become a contributor on the Fox News Channel, offering commentary on politics and public policy. In March 2007 he joined Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott, LLC, where he primarily practiced law in the firm's Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. offices. In 2007, he joined the Board of Directors of Universal Health Services, a hospital management company based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. He also began writing an Op/Ed column, "The Elephant in the Room", for the The Philadelphia Inquirer. He formally announced his run for the Republican presidential nomination on June 6, 2011.

Platform:

Santorum believes having strong families will result in a strong national economy. He also says he's committed to creating jobs in America with a smarter and simpler tax code. Santorum says he will roll back job-killing regulations, force the federal government to shrink and live within its means by passing a Balanced Budget Amendment and reinvigorate our domestic manufacturing and energy potential. His vision for America is to restore America's greatness through the promotion of faith, family and freedom.

Read more about Rick Santorum and his plan!

Wonder who you should vote for? Try this Project Vote Smart Quiz!

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