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As part of my ongoing look at where potential 2016 presidential candidates stand on the issue, my latest column for National Review Online examines Republican hopefuls and criminal justice reform. Surprisingly, most of the leading candidates are in favor of sentencing reform, ending-mandatory minimums, and making it easier for non-violent felons to expunge their records. While Rand Paul has been the candidate most identified with the issue, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Chris Christie, and even Jeb Bush have all bought in to the need for reform to some degree. The conspicuous exceptions are Scott Walker and Marco Rubio, who are sticking with the old “tough on crime” message.
Throughout the coming months, I will be looking at where the various would-be presidential candidates stand on the vital issues of the day. Today, in my weekly column for National Review Online, I look at how they would cut spending, reduce the debt, and reform entitlements. As I point out, it is very early in the campaign, and most candidates have now yet laid out detailed proposals. So, mostly this is an exercise in tea leaf reading, based on congressional votes or state budget performance, plus a statement here or there. Still, at this point, it seems reasonable to say that it looks like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are the biggest fiscal hawks, trailed to some degree by Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, and Scott Walker, with other candidates bringing up the rear.