Rep. Peter King of New York moved steps closer Thursday to a possible declaration about running for president in 2016 as he detailed the driving issue that would make up his platform — national security and the ongoing battle against terrorists.
"The main reason [I would run] would be, we have to do away with political correctness when it comes to fighting terrorism," King told Dom Giordano on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"We have to put Americans first. We can't be worried about what The New York Times is going to say, we can't be worried about what the United Nations is going to say. We have to do what's right for America," King told Giordano, who was filling in for Marlzberg.
Last month, Newsmax revealed in an exclusive story
that King was seriously considering tossing his hat into an increasingly crowded ring.
Other potential Republican candidates include Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky; Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida; Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rick Perry of Texas; and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
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King, former chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, has made national security a pinnacle of his priorities since the 9/11 attacks.
He told Giordano that the nation must be ready to take "aggressive action when we think it's in our national interest."
That aggressive action, according to King, consists of "systematic and targeted operations that end up saving lives in the long run, and it reduces the chances of a larger war.
"Basically, it's to stop apologizing for America and doing whatever has to be done here and overseas to defeat terrorism."
The Long Island, N.Y.-based lawmaker would likely pick New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to lead the nation's anti-terrorism efforts.
"Ray Kelly is a superstar. … He has set up such a counterterrorism unit in New York, an intelligence unit, that they've stopped 16 different attacks against New York," he said.
"On crime, we had at least over 2,000 murders a year in New York. Now, we're down below 400. … He has the best record of any commissioner in the country."
King said the controversial stop-and-frisk program in which people can be frisked on the street when police have probable cause has been a dazzling success in fighting crime.
"It tells the bad guys they can't go out on the streets with guns. … Police have taken the streets back," he said.
King also said federal probes into security errors that led to the fatal terror attack in Benghazi last September — which resulted in the murders of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others — must continue, despite efforts by some to paint it as old news.
"The administration has been very successful in dragging this out and so much now that a good number of the American people think … somehow Republicans are trying to make a phony scandal out of Benghazi," he said.
"So right now the administration is winning this battle. … We've got to just keep it up. When you have four Americans dead, to me everything else should stop until you find out why it happened, why it was allowed to happen, make sure it never happens again, and go after those who are responsible."
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