Quotes from the nine Republicans attending a forum on agriculture issues in Des Moines, Iowa. All are considering seeking the party’s presidential nomination in 2016:
NEW JERSEY GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE
On immigration, Christie called for enforcing existing law and expanding a guest worker program, but he didn’t fill out the rest of a plan he would support.
“Let’s enforce the laws we have now and make them work,” he said. “We should have a clear, reliable guest worker program, as one piece of an overall approach.”
FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE
On trade with Cuba, Huckabee strongly opposed opening trade relations with Cuba and criticized the Obama administration for restoring diplomatic relations with the island nation.
“These are untrustworthy people who have never kept an agreement in their lives,” he said. “You don’t go around and make nice with people who do horrible things.”
FORMER FLORIDA GOV. JEB BUSH
On immigration: “The immigrants that are here need to have a path to legalized status. …What we need to do is make sure people pay fines, that they learn English, that they work, that they don’t receive government assistance, that they earn legalized status over the long haul. That they come out from the shadows and that they can be productive with a provisional work permit. This is the only serious, thoughtful way of dealing with this.”
FORMER TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY
On whether the federal government should provide energy subsidies: “If states want to put processes, policies, subsidies into place, that should be their call. But I philosophically don’t agree that Washington, D.C., needs to be making these decisions.”
SEN. TED CRUZ OF TEXAS
Cruz likened the federal renewable fuel standard to “corporate welfare.” He said he has “every bit of faith that businesses can continue to compete, continue to do well without going on bended knee to the government.”
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM OF SOUTH CAROLINA
On immigration reform: “We need a rational solution to the 11 million (in the U.S. illegally) because no Democrat is going to give us everything we want without getting something. You know what the Democratic Party is insisting upon? A better life for some of those who live in the shadows. But they will agree with me that crooks are not welcome to stay.”
FORMER NEW YORK GOV. GEORGE PATAKI
On the federal renewable fuel standard, Pataki said he opposes enforcing the 2007 law requiring a minimum amount of renewable fuel mixed into the nation’s fuel supply. “I absolutely don’t think the federal government ought to require anyone in America to buy anything.”
FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM OF PENNSYLVANIA
On immigration: “Yes, we need to secure the border. Yes, we need to have programs that work for different industries in this country. Yes, we need e-verify. Yes, we need to reform our legal immigration system in the national interest.”
WISCONSIN GOV. SCOTT WALKER
On the federal renewable fuel standard: “It’s something I’m willing to go forward on, continuing the renewable fuel standard and pressing the EPA to make sure that there’s certainty … so that going forward, farmers know when they’re making decisions about how to plant crops, what the process is.”
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