Rubio Presses Obama for Harder Line Against Syria

Wednesday, 11 May 2011 02:34 PM

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First-term U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., waded into Middle East policy today, urging President Barack Obama to take stronger measures against Syria for that country’s bloody crackdown on political protests, The Buzz blog of the St. Petersburg Times reports. Rubio went on the CBS “Early Show” this morning to discuss a resolution he is co-sponsoring with Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who caucuses with the Democrats, to sever official ties with Syria’s dictatorial government and pull U.S. diplomats out.

Marco Rubio, Syria, hard line, Obama
Sen. Marco Rubio: Syrian regime is illegitimate. (Getty Images Photo)
“The United States should be the leading voice in the world condemning what’s happening in Syria,” Rubio said.

The White House needs to make clear that the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad is illegitimate now that it has resorted to military force to put down internal dissent, Rubio said.

Rubio, a social and fiscal conservative who garnered tea party support in his campaign, sometimes is mentioned as a future presidential candidate or vice-presidential running mate. But he has kept a low profile since taking office as he’s learned his way around the Senate and gotten up to speed on policy.

His remarks on Syria to CBS, and in a later interview on CNN, represent his first major foray into foreign affairs.

Rubio acknowledged that the president has taken some steps against Syria, including economic sanctions, “but we’re asking the administration to do more. He downplayed the possibility of military action against Syria, saying it’s “not the right approach.”


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