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When asked how to reform the federal government's biggest safety-net programs, there's a clear division between the Republican presidential candidates who hold elected office and the outsiders.

At a CNBC-sponsored debate Wednesday night, Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Gov. Jeb Bush called for changes to Medicare and Social Security such as raising the retirement age or requiring higher-income seniors to pay more. While emphasizing that the changes could apply only to future retirees, the seasoned politicians said such reforms are necessary to put the programs on firm financial footing.

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