Candidates on Issues. Paul Tsongas

Snapshots of where the top five Democratic and top two Republican US presidential contenders say they stand


Birthplace: Lowell, Mass.

Family: Married, three children.

Education: BA, Dartmouth; LLB, Yale Law School;

Peace Corps: Ethiopia

Public Career: Deputy assistant attorney general, MA, 1969-71; US representative, 1974-78; US senator, 1978-84. ECONOMY/TAXES

Calls for permanent R&D tax credit. Would transfer federal research funds from defense to civilian technologies. Backs capital-gains tax cut; investment tax credit, and incentives for savings; transportation spending; lower interest rates. Opposes middle-class tax cut. HELATH CARE

Proposes guaranteed coverage through employment-based insurance. Stresses prevention services. Proposes competition among health insurers. Patient cost sharing would be strictly limited. Plan would cover everyone. ABORTION

Pro-choice. Would draft a Freedom of Choice Act to guarantee abortion rights. Opposes parental-consent laws. Favors federal funding of abortion for low-income women. DEFENSE

Would cut defense by up to 35 percent over five years. Supports reducing troop levels in Europe. Wants US to help put in place a new world order of multi-national peacekeeping. Would eliminate SDI. ENERGY

Supports conservation. Supports utility tax credits, higher gas prices, federal taxes on inefficient cars. Would invest in mass transit and increase research in renewables. Supports nuclear power. Opposes drilling in ANWR. ENVIRONMENT

Would institute policy for product-design standards to maximize recyclability. Would make US leader in global environmental policymaking. Advocates land-use guidelines that reflect community consensus. Would limit off-shore drilling. CRIME

Supports limited use of death penalty. Supports waiting period for handgun sales. Supports ban on semiautomatic weapons. Supports unlimited habeas corpus. EDUCATION

Advocates merit pay, teaching standards, reformed school-based management, and uniform testing standards for high- school graduation. Calls for parental involvement and longer school days.

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