Rand Paul

Kentucky Republican Rand Paul is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and one of Congress' leading skeptics of U.S. military strategy, including possible strikes on Syria. On Tuesday, he offered a detailed response to President Obama's speech about the Syrian crisis. Paul joins Michel Martin of Tell Me More to talk about his opposition to military action, and what the U.S. should do.

Senator Rand Paul says a surgical military strike by the U.S. against Syria wouldn’t impact the outcome of the civil war being fought in that country.

Speaking to Fox News Sunday, the Bowling Green Republican said he’s horrified by the images of chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Senator Paul said those responsible for the attack “deserve death.”

Still, Paul says he’s worried that the kinds of missile strikes being proposed wouldn’t directly impact Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and could even further destabilize the country and increase the chances that chemical weapons end up in the hands of opposition fighters.

In a speech to the nation Tuesday, President Obama will make his case for a U.S. military strike on Syria.  Regardless of what the president says, some members of Kentucky’s federal delegation already have their minds made up. 

Republican Congressman Thomas Massie says he will vote against any resolution authorizing military force against Syria for its government’s alleged use of chemical weapons.  For one thing, Massie says he’s uncomfortable with the language in the president’s proposal.

"It's not limited geographically, it's not limited by type of engagement, and it's not limited by who we can engage, not just the Syrians," contends Massie.

Massie contends the civil war in Syria is not a matter of U.S. national security.  Massie is joined by Congressman Ed Whitfield as solid “no” votes.  U.S. Representatives Brett Guthrie, Hal Rogers, and Andy Barr, all GOP members, are still contemplating.

Voting in favor of war or military strikes has proved to have long-lasting political consequences for politicians angling for the highest office in the land.

Just ask former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose 2002 vote for the Iraq War resolution as a U.S. senator contributed to her failure to secure the Democratic presidential nomination six years later.

Kevin Willis

Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator says while he hasn’t made up his mind on a possible U.S. strike in Syria, he’s certain American military forces won’t be placed inside that country.

Republican Mitch McConnell spoke to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club Wednesday, and said even those in Washington who are advocating for U.S. involvement in Syria are stopping short of calling for boots on the ground.

“I’m not just instinctively opposed to military action,” the Louisville Republican said. “I supported the Afghan war, and I supported the Iraq war. Certainly we need to be careful about doing it. I don’t think anybody supports putting any American military personnel there at all.”

McConnell said he would announce his position on Syria “in the coming days.”

The Senate Minority Leader said there’s no way to be certain which political or religious group would take over Syria if the current regime was toppled.

A WKU political analyst says the ongoing debate over possible U.S. military action in Syria comes at an opportune time for Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

Political Science Professor and Warren County Republican Party Chairman Scott Lasley says Paul has long talked about the U.S. needing to adopt a less aggressive foreign policy. Sen. Paul--who is considering a presidential run--has been a vocal opponent of U.S. military involvement in Syria, saying it’s not in America’s interest to get involved in another nation’s civil war.

Professor Lasley says Paul’s position is something that could attract voters who wouldn’t normally side with the Bowling Green Republican.

“Particularly with younger voters, where Republicans have struggled the last couple of election cycles. A lot of time there’s not a huge difference between younger voters and older voters, but one of the areas that you do see a difference is the aggressiveness of foreign policy.”

U.S. Senator Rand Paul spoke to WKU Public Radio Friday about the possibility of U.S. military action against Syria following the regime's alleged use of chemical weapons.

The Bowling Green Republican talked about what the Constitution says about war powers, how the Syria issue is uniting those on the left and right, and he took a not-too-subtle jab at Hillary Clinton, in what could be a preview of a possible 2016 Presidential contest.

Here is the transcript of Sen. Paul's interview with WKU Public Radio's Kevin Willis:

Is a U.S. military strike against Syria inevitable?

"Maybe, maybe not. I'm trying very hard to prevent that from happening. The Constitution is very explicit. The Constitution says Congress gives the authority to declare war, not the President. The President, when he was a Senator, acknowledged this. He said no President should unilaterally go to war without Congressional authority."

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says the Obama administration has so far not articulated a "clear-cut objective" related to possible military action against Syria.

Speaking to WKU Public Radio Friday morning, Sen. Paul said no U.S. strike should occur unless it's approved by a Congressional vote.

You can read the transcript of the Senator's conversation with WKU Public Radio here.

The Bowling Green Republican said that until he sees the evidence gathered by the U.S. on the chemical weapons attack that allegedly occurred in Syria, he can't be sure who was behind the assault.

"One commentator recently asked the question--it's a Latin phrase--'cui bono?' Whose benefit is this? To whom does the benefit accrue if you have this attack? Well, it doesn't seem to be helping Assad any, it seems to be united the world against him," said Sen. Paul.

"So there is a possibility that maybe the rebels instigated this chemical attack. I would at least want to see the evidence before launching a war."

As new voter ID laws take effect across the county, U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is maintaining his position that asking voters to produce identification before casting their ballot has no racial overtones. Paul told WKU Public Radio that voter ID provisions are needed to combat voter fraud and not doing so is a disservice to those who fought for the right to vote.

"Forty, 50 years ago when people were fighting for the right to vote, there were people beaten with clubs, there were people who fought for the Voting Rights Act, and at that time, African Americans weren't voting and weren't allowed to vote," said the Bowling Green Republican.

More states are enacting voter ID laws since the U.S. Supreme Court in June gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that gave the federal government oversight of states with a history of voter discrimination. Sen. Paul says he hasn't seen any evidence that minorities are facing obstacles in voting.  In fact, he says in the last election, African Americans voted at a higher percentage than White Americans in states that were under special provisions of the federal government. 

His comments come as he urges the GOP to do more to attract minorities, and as opponents of the Supreme Court's decision on the Voting Rights Act point to various voter ID laws they say are designed to discourage election day turnout in minority communities.

Paul: GOP Big Enough to Accomodate Him, Chris Christie

Aug 19, 2013

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says he and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will continue to disagree over national security and other issues, but the Republican Party is big enough to accommodate both men's views.

In an apparent shot at Christie, Paul says Sunday "there's room for people who believe in bigger government in our party." The New Jersey governor is considered a moderate whose views on government spending differ sharply from the libertarian Paul's.

The two men, potential rivals for president in 2016, have been sparring for weeks.

Paul told "Fox News Sunday" that Republicans should concentrate growing the party instead of bickering. He said the GOP "is shrinking almost down to nothing" in the Northeast, Christie's home base, and needs people with new ideas to attract independents and Democrats.

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