Republican presidential candidates seemed to support a combination of tax reductions and spending cuts to make up for an election-year recession. They were arguing in a debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, sponsored by the South Carolina Republican Party and Fox News Channel. Mitt Romney said during the debate, "We should reduce taxes on middle-income Americans immediately." John McCain, on the other hand, proposed spending cuts to get a grip over the budget deficit. He promised to veto pork barrel spending bills. However, he also stressed that the Bush era tax cuts should continue. Fred Thompson proposed a cut in corporate taxes, and said that tax cuts brought about in recent years should be extended. Rudy Giuliani also advocated tax cuts. In an advertisement, he promised to send the largest tax cut in history to Congress on his first day in the White House. Of all candidates, only Ron Paul said he believed that there was a recession and that it was only going to get worse. The debate was part of the run-up to presidential primaries in Michigan and South Carolina. McCain, Romney, and Huckabee are expected to be the main contenders in the Michigan primary. A failure here would be critical; the candidate who finishes third is very unlikely to win the race. Economics were dominant during the first part of the debate and hinted at the concerns regarding the approaching recession. Meanwhile, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, has said that he would do everything possible to maintain the expanding economy. Responding to the recent incident in which the Iranian speed boats were involved in a skirmish with U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf, all presidential rivals gave a clean chit to the U.S. naval commanders. Some also underlined an intention to be tougher with Iran in the future. For instance, referring to the incident, Huckabee said that if it occurred again, the Iranians "should be prepared to see the gates of Hell." Echoing Huckabee was Thompson who said, "I think one more step, you know, and they would have been introduced to those virgins that they're looking forward to seeing". Romney said, "I believe Iran represents a very serious threat." He added that the incident was a calculated to test U.S. defensive responses. He said," It points out that we have in Iran a very troubled nation. Also, Romney's criticism of Paul for urging against US involvement in another war met with a mixed response.
Find more about Fred Thompson and other republican candidates for US presidential elections 2008.
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