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Bachmann: “This tax shouldn’t have been put in the first place, the payroll tax extension.” Calls it a “gimmick” instead of a permanent solution.

Romney: “I don’t want to raise taxes on people, especially people in the middle class.” Calls it a “band-aid” and says it will provide temporary relief.

Santorum: “Is there a Social Security trust fund or not?” Says Obama is “defunding the Social Security system.”

Paul: “I want to extend the tax cut… but I want to pay for it.”

At the ABC debate, Newt Gingrich had the first answer to the first question, which asked the candidates how they would distinguish themselves from the other candidates on the issues of jobs and the economy.

“Well I think that there’s a clear record. I worked with Ronald Reagan in the early 80’s,” said Gingrich. “His recovery program helped translate, in this population, to 25 million new jobs.”

He also added: “It starts very simply: Lower taxes, less regulation, an American energy plan, and actually be positive to people who create new jobs,” compared to President Obama’s policies that Gingrich described as “higher taxes, more regulation, no American energy, and attacking people who create jobs, through class warfare.”

Coming off the back of Newt’s comments about how to fix the economy (in a line, lower taxes), Romney says there are in fact seven things you have to do to fix the economy. He lists them, but frankly most sound rather vague. Seems somewhat management jargon-esque and aspirational rather than genuinely practical.

From CNN’s Ashley Killough:



Mitt Romney, who’s watched opponent Newt Gingrich speed ahead to frontrunner status in the GOP presidential horserace, said he’ll use Saturday night’s presidential debate in Iowa to highlight his differences with the former House Speaker. “I’ll be doing that tonight,” Romney said during a surprise stop at his Iowa campaign headquarters in Des Moines on Saturday. “I’m sure we’ll get plenty of opportunities to talk about our similarities and our differences.”

Telegraphing a likely message for tonight’s debate in Des Moines, IA, Newt Gingrich told a crowd assembled at his first Iowa HQ in Urbandale Saturday that he will remain “relentlessly positive” on the campaign trail.

Further, he promised to rebuke anyone on runs negative ads in his name. Gingrich is currently the target of a massive negative TV ad campaign run by a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney.

“We will not engage in negative ads. We’re not going to engage in tearing people down,” Gingrich said. “And if anybody does go out and create any kind of super PAC using my name, if they run any negative ads, we will attack them and we will encourage people to give them no money.”

JOHNSTON, IOWA -- Rick Santorum still believes Iowa works the way it's supposed to, despite all evidence to the contrary. And here in the outskirts of Des Moines Friday night, he explained why the polls are wrong and he's about to surge to the front of the pack any minute now.

The reason? Cheese and a lack of bling.

Santorum stood in a small hotel ballroom with Matt Schultz, Iowa's Secretary of State, who endorsed the former Pennsylvania senator Friday. Though the campaign billed the endorsement as a major announcement, there were signs it was coming for many months -- Santorum campaigned for Schultz in 2010 and Schultz' college age brother launched DraftSantorum.com way back in January 2011. Still, it was a rare endorsement from a statewide elected official in Iowa, and it's yet another sign that Santorum is running the state right (according to the old rules) so far.

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DES MOINES, IA -- Mitt Romney's latest ad running here is all about the many, many years he's been married to his wife, Anne. Mrs. Romney is currently barnstorming the state hosting "women for Mitt" events.

All this comes as Romney's campaign works to blunt the Newtmentum gripping this state and the country. Team Romney swears all the talk of long marriages and families isn't a backhanded attack on Newt Gingrich's colorful personal past. And, for now, the Gingrich campaign seems content to take Romney at his word.

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