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The 5 Stupidest Things GOP Presidential Candidates Said...In Just One Day

We expect the climate denial and the race-baiting. But what was surprising was the sheer stupidity of some of the candidates' assertions at CPAC.

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In fact, Santorum actually said that prescription birth control only costs “a few dollars” -- a patently false claim, since a month's supply of birth control pills can cost up to $50. But that wasn’t the stupid part. The stupidity came in when Santorum asserted that insurance was only intended for things that were expensive. By that logic, any hope of bringing down healthcare costs would disappear as people beg doctors for the most expensive option, so they don’t have to pay out of pocket for their treatment. Here's Santorum in his own words:

Ladies and gentlemen, we have seen this play out on the stage in the last few weeks. We’ve seen the president of the United States tell you what kind of insurance coverage you’re going to have, how much you’re going to pay, how much you’ll be fined if you don’t, but he’s now telling the Catholic Church that they are forced to pay for things that are against their basic tenets and teachings. Against their First Amendment right....In an insurance policy, they’re forcing them to pay for something that costs just a few dollars. Is that what insurance is for? Things that are not really things that you need insurance for...but forcing them even the more to do it for minor expenses...This is the kind of coercion we can expect.

3. Newt Gingrich: Undocumented workers should be tracked through FedEx. For a smart guy, Newt Gingrich says a lot of dumb things. No, we’re not talking about the moon colony or other Newtonian “big ideas,” which are not really stupid, they’re just phantasmagorical. But before CPAC, Gingrich served up some hot, steaming stupid, such as his plan for tracking undocumented workers. After asking audience members to raise their hands if they had ever tracked online the delivery of a package they sent by FedEx or UPS, Gingrich continued:

Between UPS and FedEx, we track 24 million packages a day while they’re moving and we allow you to find out where they are for free. That’s the world that works. Now here’s the world that fails: The federal government today cannot find 11 million illegal immigrants even if they’re sitting still.

Now, I have a simple proposal: We send a package to everyone who’s here illegally and when it’s delivered, we pull it up in a computer, we know where they are.

But wait -- wouldn’t you have to know where they are in order to send them a package? Oh, never mind, because Gingrich sought to innoculate himself by following that helpful suggestion with this:

Let me say for my friends in the news media that that was hyperbole; we don’t need a fact-check.

It may be hyperbole, but that doesn’t mean it’s not stupid.

4. Newt Gingrich: Unemployment insurance a violation of the Declaration of Independence. Gingrich, in another of his “bold ideas,” proposed making the unemployed enroll in a “business-led training program” in order to collect the unemployment benefits for which they and their employers have been paying premiums across the course of a worker’s career. He continued:

Never again should we pay somebody 99 weeks for doing nothing. In 99 weeks, you can earn an associate degree. I mean, think about the total waste of human capability when you teach people to sit at home for 99 weeks. It’s fundamentally wrong, and a violation of the Declaration of Independence commitment that we have the right to pursue happiness.

5. Mitt Romney: ‘Severely’ stupid. Once viewed as the inevitable Republican presidential nominee, Romney’s road to the nomination has stalled several times, as he’s lost four state caucus contests and one primary to Santorum, and another primary to Gingrich. The problem seems to be that the right-wing Republican base doesn’t trust Romney’s conservative credentials, which are rather newly minted. As governor of the liberal Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Romney implemented a state-mandated healthcare system that is not unlike the Affordable Care Act signed into law by Obama -- a plan vociferously derided on the right as “Obamacare.” So Romney came before CPAC determined to make the case that he was a true conservative.

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