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The group said Mr. Gingrich is proposing more than $7 trillion in tax cuts, coupled with just $2.7 trillion in spending reductions. Mr. Santorum’s $6 trillion in tax breaks is offset with just $2.3 trillion in spending cuts, while Mr. Romney’s $1.35 trillion in proposed tax cuts is almost matched by $1.2 trillion in spending reductions.

Only Mr. Paul’s plan reduces the deficit, and he does that by proposing to slash federal spending by $7.5 trillion, outstripping his tax cuts of $5.2 trillion.

Mr. Paul’s campaign touted the findings as evidence that he does the most to reduce debt, while Mr. Gingrich issued a statement that disputed the finding that he has the worst plan for the country’s budget.

He said his own advisers have evaluated his plan and said it would produce 6.6 million jobs and could balance the budget eventually, once his proposed changes to entitlement programs kick in.

With the rest of the field relatively quiet, Mr. Romney dominated the campaign news Thursday. In the morning, he spoke to the Associated Builders and Contractors, a construction trade group that regularly battles with labor unions.

He told the group he would oppose all of labor’s chief goals. That would include, among other things, ending Mr. Obama’s requirement that federal contracts have to use project labor agreements, which require the use of labor union workers.

That drew a standing ovation from the group.

“I didn’t know that was going to get that kind of response. I would have said that earlier,” Mr. Romney said.
He also called the Wednesday debate “fun” and said he was surprised by Mr. Santorum’s explanation for his Senate votes.