'Crossfire' Kicks Off with Rand Paul, Menendez

Tuesday, 10 Sep 2013 08:10 AM

By Greg Richter

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There was at least some agreement Monday as CNN's revamped "Crossfire" kicked off. But it wasn't all "Kumbaya."

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., were guests of former House Speaker Newt Gringrich on the political right and Stephanie Cutter, former deputy campaign chair for President Barack Obama, on the left.

The show debuted a week early to capitalize on expected debate and votes in Congress on whether to authorize Obama to launch missile strikes on Syria. An unexpected diplomatic proposal for Syria to turn its chemical weapons over to international officials has slowed down the debate in Congress.

Paul, who has consistently opposed action against Syria, was happy.

"I think it's a good idea to have the chemical weapons turned over to an international authority, so I'm not going to complain about a good thing," he said. "So I think that we can – even though it's supposed to be 'Crossfire' – maybe we can all agree that it would be a good idea not to bomb Syria."

Menendez said that the proposal could solve the problem with Syria. "You can't deliver chemical weapons that you don’t have access to anymore," he said.

But Paul stirred a dustup when he suggested that taking action against Syrian President Bashar Assad would make the United States "allies with al-Qaida," since the terrorist group has infiltrated some of the rebel groups fighting Assad.

"I don't suggest we're going to be allies with al-Qaida," Menendez responded emphatically.

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