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GOP candidates pitch conservative path to fight poverty

By BILL BARROW and SERGIO BUSTOS
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Republican presidential candidates say the party must do more to convince poor Americans that conservative policies - and not an active federal government -will expand economic opportunity.

But the White House hopefuls don't agree on all the details, particularly on taxes.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie bragged Saturday in South Carolina that he doubled a key tax benefit for low-income workers in his state.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson countered that the Earned Income Tax Credit is another "manipulation" of the tax code. Carson calls for an across-the-board rate, with no deductions or credits for any filer.

The back-and-forth is occurring at an economic forum moderated by Speaker Paul Ryan.

Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich also are appearing.

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