Who are the current Republican candidates running for president? The list is changing every week, as some of the candidates we thought we’d see through more of the primary season have dropped out. We’ve said goodbye to Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman. But here’s what you need to know about the remaining candidates as we head into the contests in Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri and Maine this week:
Status: Married to Ann Romney for 42 years
Children: 5 sons — Craig 30, Benjamin 33, Joshua 36, Matthew 40, Taggart 41; 16 grandchildren
Previous political experience: Massachusetts Governor from 2003 to 2007; ran for U.S. Senate 1994, lost to incumbent Senator Ted Kennedy; ran for President in 2008, did not get GOP nomination
2012 Primary status: Winner of New Hampshire primary. Was originally declared winner of Iowa Caucuses by eight votes, but after recount he was declared the loser to Rick Santorum. Placed second in South Carolina after surprise defeat by Newt Gingrich. Won Florida primary. Won Nevada Caucuses.
Health care: Would repeal Affordable Care Act, often referred to by the GOP candidates as “Obama-care,” legislation passed by Congress in an attempt to provide health coverage for all Americans, lower health care costs and prevent insurance companies from refusing coverage on the basis of patients’ preexisting conditions. Is against current federal health care reform plan, but spearheaded successful movement in favor of universal health care for state residents while Massachusetts
Economy : Would eliminate Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which increased regulation and oversight of the financial industry in response to the economic collapse in 2008 and the subsequent Wall Street bailout. Would cut some government departments to lessen regulation of businesses. Romney says, “The right answer for America is not to grow government or to believe that government can create jobs. It is instead to create the conditions that allow the private sector and entrepreneurs to create jobs and to grow our economy.” To achieve this, Romney would reduce corporate tax rate to 25% and cut “non-discretionary” mandated government spending by 5%
Foreign Policy: Would review Afghanistan in first 100 days, but hold Afghanistan government responsible for governing. Said in debate performances shouldn’t fight war for another nation and says troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan. Won’t rule out war against Iran to prevent Iranian government from acquiring/developing nuclear weapons
Fun Fact: People Magazine named Romney one of its 50 Most Beautiful People in 2002
Oops Moment: While technically true under the letter of law, Romney took a lot of heat when, in response to questioning about how people fare in America vs. corporations, he told an Iowa State Fair campaign crowd that “Corporations are people, too”
Status: Married to Callista Gingrich for 11 years; divorced twice
Children: Two daughters from his first marriage, Kathy 48, Jackie 45, two grandchildren
Previous political experience: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1999 from the 6th District of Georgia. GOP House Minority Whip from 1989 to 1995. Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999. After an ethics investigation into whether he received questionable PAC contributions, he resigned from Congress in 1999, rather than face censure. He was ordered to pay $300,000 in fines in connection with that investigation
2012 Primary status: Won South Carolina primary by double digits over Romney and others. Lost by double digits in Iowa (4the place) and New Hampshire (4th place). Second in Florida primary. Second place in Nevada Caucuses.
Jobs/Economy: Institute an “optional” 15% flat tax. Repeal the Affordable Care Act. Reform “entitlement” programs, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid Repeal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Would eliminate the capital gains tax and the estate tax
Foreign Policy: Secure the U.S. border with Mexico. Would support a war against Iran to keep it from getting nuclear weapons. Has been blasted by conservatives for his stance on his amnesty-like immigration policy
“I’m willing to be tough, but I’m not willing to kid people,” he said. “And I can’t imagine any serious person here in this country who believes we’re going to tear families apart that have been here twenty or twenty-five years”
Political baggage: While many in GOP applaud Gingrich’s intellect, they have also lamented his “baggage,” including the fact that he has acknowledged having an extramarital affair with his current wife Callista while married to his second wife, and while advocating for the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Second ex-wife says she divorced him because he wanted an “open marriage” so he could continue his affair with Callista, now his wife
Oops Moment: Gingrich was criticized for his “let them sweep floors” moment, after he suggested doing away with child welfare laws and letting poor kids in poorly performing schools work from age 14
Fun Fact: His cell phone ring tone is the song “Dancing Queen” by ABBA.
Status: Married to wife Carolyn Paul for 54 years
Children: Five children — Ronald, Lori, Rand (who is U.S. Senator from Kentucky), 48, Robert and Joy; 18 grandchildren
Previous political experience: U.S. Congressman from 14th Congressional District in Texas, 1976 to 1977, 1979 to 1985, 1997 to present; ran for GOP Presidential nomination in 1988, 1996, 2008
2012 Primary status: Third place in Iowa. Second place in New Hampshire. Last place in South Carolina, though Paul continues to do extremely well with the 18 to 24 year old vote. Last place finish in Florida primary and Nevada Caucuses.
Jobs/Economy: Eliminate “unnecessary” regulations on businesses. Eliminate income, capital gains and estate taxes. Repeal the Affordable Care Act. Lower the corporate tax rate to 15%. Eliminate Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Advocate for balanced federal budget within three years of becoming president
Foreign Policy: Voted against the Iraq War. Believes “offering friendship rather than sanctions” is the policy to support in Iran, worrying that stories of Iran’s nuclear capabilities have been inflated. Supports withdrawal from Afghanistan
Third Party Philosophy: While he is a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, Paul considers himself a Libertarian in his political views
Fun Fact: According to his campaign website, Paul, who is a medical doctor, has delivered more than 4,000 babies
Oops Moment: While not a gaffe, Paul has told reporters that medical care and education are not “rights” under the Constitution
Twitter: @RepRonPaul and @RonPaul
Status: Married to wife Karen Santorum for 21 years
Children: Seven children – Elizabeth, 20, John, 18, Daniel, 16, Sarah, 13 Peter, 12 Patrick, 10 and Isabella, 3
Previous political experience: U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2007; U.S Congressman from Pennsylvania from 1991 to 1995
2012 Primary status: Winner of Iowa Caucuses. Fifth place in New Hampshire. Finished third in South Carolina. Third place finish in Florida primary. Third place finish in Nevada Caucuses.
Jobs/Economy: Allow corporations to pay no taxes on profits earned overseas if that money is invested in U.S. manufacturing jobs.Cut corporate tax rate on manufacturing companies from 35% to 0%, claiming this will help create factory jobs. Repeal Affordable Care Act
Foreign Policy: Concerned that troop withdrawal from Iraq will give more power to Iran in region, would keep some troops in Iraq. Supports funding of Iranian pro-democracy groups. Would authorize military action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons
On shopping for a husband: Santorum has publicly suggested that in order to expand the Republican voter base, there should be more of an effort to find husbands for single mothers, because he believes that married mothers vote Republican more frequently than single mothers
Fun Fact: During his legal career, Santorum represented the World Wrestling Federation
Oops Moment: Abandoned campaign slogan of “Fighting to Make America America Again” when informed it was coined by the late poet Langston Hughes, who was publicly very liberal. Has come under fire for his ‘no exceptions’ stance on abortion, when he has admitted to considering an abortion for his wife in order to save her life