Republicans running for president slam debt deal

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Nearly every Republican running for president is slamming the debt ceiling compromise between the White House and congressional leaders.

Some oppose it on the principle that it does not guarantee a balanced budget amendment or that it does not cut enough spending. And politically, the candidates opposed to the legislation are well aware that endorsing it could alienate them from Tea Party voters.

Michigan Republican Saul Anuzis, who ran for chairman of the Republican National Committee earlier this year, said primary voters “are ready for a fight and want our elected officials to stand on principle.”

“I think there is a tremendous amount of mistrust amongst the grassroots,” Anuzis told TheDC.

Yet Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah, has come out in support of the deal that raises the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion.

“While this framework is not my preferred outcome,” Huntsman said, “it is a positive step toward cutting our nation’s crippling debt … I encourage members of Congress to vote for this legislation.”

His opponents feel differently. (RELATED: Boehner presses GOP to accept debt progress)

“While I appreciate the extraordinarily difficult situation President Obama’s lack of leadership has placed Republican members of Congress in, I personally cannot support this deal,” former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said.

Romney said he is against a plan that “opens the door to higher taxes and puts defense cuts on the table.”

The legislation calls for a bipartisan debt commission appointed by Congress to come up with more than $1 trillion in savings. Some Republicans worry that could lead to tax increases. And if a plan is not adopted by the committee, forced cuts, including defense spending, would kick in, something that also alarms Republicans.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann said the deal “spends too much and doesn’t cut enough.”

“Everywhere I travel across the country, Americans want less spending, lower taxes to create jobs, and they don’t want us to raise the debt ceiling,” she said. (RELATED: Biden pitches plan to Hill Dems)

A spokesman for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said the “deal is nothing to celebrate.” Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that “it will be a destructive failure” if it leads to tax increases and cuts to national security. A spokesman for Texas Rep. Ron Paul told The Daily Caller that the congressman is “strongly against” the deal.

Spokespeople for businessman Herman Cain and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum did not immediately return a request for comment on the deal. As for Texas Gov. Rick Perry — who is expected to join the race, a spokesman said the governor “thinks the right track to go down is ‘cut, cap and balance.’ That was the approach he believed was best for the country.”