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GOP Debate Saturday in Spartanburg SC: A Summary

By: AP
By: AP

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) -- Unsparing in their criticism of
President Barack Obama, Republican presidential hopefuls disagreed in their latest debate Saturday night about the right course in Afghanistan, the use of waterboarding and the wisdom of a
pre-emptive military strike to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear
weapon.

The GOP contenders split Saturday night over whether
waterboarding would be an effective tool.

Cain says he doesn't support torture, but he says he would trust
military leaders to determine what that means.

He says he would return to waterboarding because he doesn't see it as torture.

Bachmann says she supports it, while Paul says it is illegal.

Huntsman says waterboarding diminishes U.S. standing in the
world and undercuts the nation's values.

GOP contender Mitt Romney wasn't directly asked about the issue
but adds he would use whatever means necessary to protect America.

Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann said they would reinstate
waterboarding during interrogations of suspected terrorists, but
Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman dismissed it as torture.

As for Tehran, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said, "There
are a number of ways to be smart about Iran, and a few ways to be
stupid." He said the administration has skipped all the ways to be
smart. There was disagreement under what circumstances, if any,
would be wise for a pre-emptive attack.

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney says if President Barack Obama wins a second term, Iran will obtain a nuclear weapon.

Romney opened Saturday night's GOP debate with strong criticism
of Obama, the Democrat he hopes to challenge in 2012.

He says that a Romney administration would prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon -- even if that means using U.S. military forces.

Rival Herman Cain says he would not use military action, but
says he would move warships to the region to deter Iran.

Instead, Cain says he would prefer to aid the resistance to Tehran to
overthrow the regime.

Rival Ron Paul, a congressman from Texas, says any use of force against Iran would require approval from Congress.

Several Republican presidential hopefuls say they would continue to hold terror suspects at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

In Saturday night's debate, businessman Herman Cain, former
Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Minnesota's Rep. Michele
Bachmann all say they want to keep the prison open, allow the use
of controversial techniques to interrogate terrorists and use
military courts to try the terrorism suspects who are held there.

Gov. Rick Perry didn't address Guantanamo directly, but he says
the U.S. should continue to use enhanced interrogation techniques
to save American lives overseas.

President Barack Obama has been trying to close the prison since
the early months of his presidency.

The Republican candidates GOP hopefuls were answering a question from South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was attending the debate.

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain says President Barack Obama has been on the wrong side of nearly every situation in the Arab world and the United States has mishandled the uprisings in the region.

Other Republicans, too, were tough on Obama's handing of Libya,
Egypt and Yemen during Saturday night's debate on foreign policy.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says the United States wrongly dumped overnight an ally in Syria, while Mitt Romney says it is
time for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad to end.

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas says it would be wrong for the United
States to take active stands in the region. He says it's up to each
country to determine its future.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn't forgetting about the Department of Energy this time around.

In Saturday's debate, Perry jokes about his gaffe from a debate
four days ago, when he forgot the third Cabinet department he would
eliminate if elected president.

Perry says he's glad moderator Scott Pelley of CBS News
remembered to ask him about the Energy Department.

Pelly says he's had some time to think about it.

"Me too," Perry cracks back.

Perry has used humor this week to try and deflect his mistake,
even stopping by the David Letterman show in New York.

Perry says he wants to eliminate Education, Commerce and Energy Departments.

Republicans were debating for the second time in four days in
South Carolina, the first-in-the-South primary state.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann says developments in the Middle East are setting the stage for nuclear war against Israel.

In a Republican debate Saturday, Bachmann warned that Iran's
attempt to develop a nuclear weapon is part of a regional push
against Israel.

She said Iran is working with countries like Syria and groups like Hamas to push its agenda.

That means "the table is being set for worldwide nuclear war
against Israel," she said.

Bachmann criticized President Barack Obama's approach to
managing the U.S. relationship with the Jewish state.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas said it was time for U.S. troops to come home from Afghanistan after a
combat mission now a decade old.

Huntsman says it's time for the United States to exit Afghanistan
and focus on rebuilding the nation's home front.

The former ambassador to China says during Saturday night's
debate of GOP hopefuls that he would leave a small contingent of
forces on the ground to help Afghan forces.

He says the United States has achieved its goals of removing the Taliban from governing, killing Osama bin Laden and staging free elections.

Rival Mitt Romney says that he would listen to his military
commanders and says President Barack Obama is not heeding the
military's advice.

Romney says Obama is playing politics with deployments and disagrees with any timeline for withdrawal.

Republicans vying for their party's presidential nomination are pledging to cut spending as a central part to their strategy to reducing the federal deficit.

Mitt Romney said Saturday night that the country cannot keep
borrowing money from China to pay for domestic programs that aren't
necessary, offering budget cuts to the arts and public
broadcasting.

Jon Huntsman pointed to Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget outline as a start to reduce the federal deficit, saying it offers a template that puts everything on the table.

Newt Gingrich says the United States needs to grow the economy
to bring in more tax dollars. Those funds could then help develop
the economy to balance future budgets.

Michele Bachmann says her proposal is simple: end all of the
1960s' Great Society programs.


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