Republican Presidential Contenders Take Part In Second Debate

Republican Presidential Contenders Take Part In Second Debate

Columbia, S.C. (AP) -- The second debate among Republican presidential hopefuls has been a chance for them to burnish their conservative credentials.

The leading contenders also sought to highlight differences with their opponents on abortion, gun control and tax cuts.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani repeated his stance that abortion should be legal. But he said there should be an effort to "reduce abortions."

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said he had signed legislation into law banning assault weapons but added that he is a supporter of the rights of gun owners under the constitution's second amendment.

And Arizona Senator John McCain said he would make sure that President Bush's tax cuts are made permanent, even though he voted against them when they were passed in 2001.

Republican Candidates Take Aim At Each Other, As Well As Democrats

The Republican Presidential candidates duked it out in South Carolina last night in their second debate.

Some of those behind in the polls jabbed at the front-runners.

Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo said he thinks John McCain, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani are soft on immigration. And he said his rivals have undergone conversions on such issues as abortion hoping to win votes.

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore described some of his opponents as "very liberal in characterizing themselves as conservatives, particularly on the issues of abortion and taxes and health care." He singled out Giuliani for supporting abortion rights and pointed out that Mike Huckabee raised taxes as Arkansas governor. Huckabee responded by saying he cut taxes repeatedly as governor, blaming the tax hike on a court order.

The Republicans also used a little time to target Democrats. Huckabee, for instance, had got in a double dig, saying the Democratic Congress has spent money "like John Edwards at a beauty shop."

Copyright 2007 by the associated press. All rights reserved.

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