Where they stand: Bush on key topics of 2016 campaign

AP News
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Posted: Jun 04, 2015 3:24 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, aides say, and plans to announce that June 15. Here's where he stands on some of the issues likely to be debated in the campaign.

IMMIGRATION

Bush supports a system that would allow immigrants in the country illegally to stay, if they plead guilty to illegal entry, pay penalties and past-due taxes, learn English and perform community service. Bush views such a system as vital to accelerating economic growth in the U.S. He took grief from the right with his statement that people come to the U.S. illegally as an "act of love" for their families, but remains insistent that illegal immigration must be addressed in ways that accommodate many who are here.

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FOREIGN POLICY

Bush says the U.S. "needs to regain its position militarily in Iraq to bring some order to the Iraqi military." But what that means, exactly, is unclear. He hasn't said whether he thinks the U.S. should add more troops. Bush opposed removing Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism "before it changes its authoritarian ways and stops denying the Cuban people their basic human rights." He criticized Congress for weakening post-Sept. 11 surveillance powers and disputed the argument those powers infringe on civil liberties. After stumbling over the question at first, Bush said he would not have ordered the 2003 invasion of Iraq, knowing now that the intelligence about its weapons capability was flawed.

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BUDGET AND ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS

As Florida governor Bush cut taxes and the state government workforce and vetoed plenty of spending items in the state budget.

As a White House contender, Bush says he would support raising the age to qualify for full Social Security benefits for future retirees, over time.

He's also praised a House Republican plan to partially privatize Social Security by letting people choose private accounts as an option to guaranteed Social Security benefits. He opposes tax increases but also has been against signing pledges to rule them out.

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EDUCATION

Bush stands out as a supporter of Common Core education standards. He's couched his position in milder terms recently as he has traveled to early-voting states where Republican support for the voluntary benchmarks are viewed as a federal mandate. Bush continues to urge states to adopt higher reading, math and language arts standards than they have, assessed with regular testing. But he doesn't support additional testing or federal intervention in creation of the standards.

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SOCIAL ISSUES

Bush became a national figure with abortion opponents as governor when he intervened in the case of Terri Schiavo, a woman who had been kept alive in a vegetative state for 15 years by life support and whose husband wanted her feeding tubes removed. Bush ordered the feeding tubes reinserted only to be overruled by a federal court. Bush's action was celebrated by anti-abortion groups as affirming the sanctity of life. As governor, Bush signed legislation requiring parental consent for abortions for minors. He opposes abortion rights except when women are victims of rape or incest, or when the woman's life is endangered by continued pregnancy. He says he opposes gay marriage yet same-sex couples "making lifetime commitments to each other" deserve respect.

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CLIMATE CHANGE

Bush accepts the scientific premise that the climate is changing and calls examining the causes a priority. But he says: "I don't think the science is clear on what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural." Those who say they know are guilty of "intellectual arrogance," he says. He attributes the decline in U.S. carbon emissions to innovations in lower-carbon energy production by hydraulic fracking and horizontal oil and natural gas drilling.