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Debt Ceiling Debate: Where GOP Presidential Candidates Stand On Raising Deficit Limit (PHOTOS)

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 06/23/11 02:34 PM ET   Updated: 08/23/11 06:12 AM ET

Debate over raising the debt ceiling is proving to be a hot topic for discussion among the pack of Republican candidates vying for their party's nomination to run against President Barack Obama in the next election cycle.

Some GOP contenders have sought to capitalize on the fiscal issue to establish credibility with conservative voters. It should be noted, however, that most of the better known White House hopefuls will not have to cast a vote on whether or not to raise the deficit limit.

HuffPost's Jon Ward reported earlier this year:

Conservative strategists are warning that the GOP should not push the debt ceiling debate too close to the breaking point.

“If there is a vote on raising the debt ceiling and it fails, there will be a significant market reaction,” said Tony Fratto, a former Treasury and White House official in the Bush administration. “Investors already believe that Congress doesn’t understand the financial markets. A failure to raise the debt ceiling will confirm this to them."

If the markets get spooked, U.S. treasury bond yields will spike, driving up interest rates and increasing the price of borrowing money for everyone from the federal government to municipalities to consumers, Fratto warned. The cascading effects on the economy would be severe and long-lasting.

Nevertheless, some of the Republicans running for president are standing firm in their opposition to raising the debt ceiling.

Below, a slideshow highlighting the positions defined by GOP presidential candidates on the fiscal issue:

Mitt Romney
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Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has repeatedly dodged direct questions as to whether he supports raising the debt ceiling, including during the GOP primary debate held in New Hampshire last week.

Asked at the Granite State forum if he believes the deficit limit will ultimately be raised, via CNN, the presidential candidate responded:

I believe we will not raise the debt ceiling unless the president finally, finally is willing to be a leader on issues that the American people care about. And the number one issue that relates to that debt ceiling is whether the government is going to keep on spending money they don't have.

And the American people and Congress and every person elected in Washington has to understand we want to see a president finally lay out plans for reining in the excesses of government.

You've heard on here a whole series of ideas about entitlements. And that's about 60 percent of federal spends. That's a big piece. That's a big chunk. Ideas from all these people up here.

Romney has praised the tough stance taken by House Republicans on lifting the debt ceiling and the larger issue of government spending.

"We've got our colleagues in the House that are doing a heroic job. They're using every source of their strength to fight the excessive spending of this administration, and I applaud them on that," Romney said earlier this month, according to the Los Angeles Times, "They say they're not going to raise the debt limit unless they see a commensurate reduction in spending and plans to hold down our spending in the future. Congratulations to them on keeping the battle going on."
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