Tags: GOP presidential candidates | ISIS | Rubio | Cruz | Paul

ISIS Debate Gives 3 Senators an Edge Over GOP Presidential Field

Image: ISIS Debate Gives 3 Senators an Edge Over GOP Presidential Field
Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (Mandel Ngan/Getty Images; Mike Stone/Getty Images; Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 11:07 AM


While the possible GOP presidential contenders don't all agree on strategy for handling the ISIS threat, one thing setting Republican senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio apart in a crowded field is their knowledge on foreign policy.

Such inside experience working in Washington allows them to speak with authority on national security measures, giving them a timely leg up and something their gubernatorial colleagues cannot tout, The Hill reports.

"The governors are in a far worse position to be really knowledgeable about complex foreign policy matters because they don’t have to deal with them for the most part in their day-to-day jobs,” noted Rubio pollster Whit Ayers as the ISIS debate continues to grab headlines.

The lawmakers, he added, are “demonstrating a remarkable difference in knowledge about foreign affairs.”

Not that they agree on tactics.

Rubio has aligned with the John McCain wing on national security interests, promoting a forceful entry in the fight against the terrorist jihadists. He urged, in an interview with MSNBC, that the U.S. immediately should engage, "no matter how long it takes" and "no matter what it takes."

McCain has challenged
the president's strategy as a half-effort, calling for full-on airstrikes to show force and not simply assuage public fears, CNN reported. "If he is worried about targets, I can give him targets in Syria," McCain said.

Paul put great distance between his father and himself on the issue, noting he was fully interested in stepping up and acting on military action that would eradicate ISIS, marking a turn away from his more subtle engagement when he was less hawkish about a full-on airstrike attack, The Hill noted.

But Paul has also said he thinks Obama's tactics are "unconstitutional," and has opposed arming the Syrian rebels.

“It doesn’t in any way represent what our Constitution dictates nor what our founding fathers intended,” Paul told Fox News of Obama's tactics. “So it is unconstitutional what he’s doing."

Paul added of the president: “He should have come before a joint session of Congress, laid out his plan — as he did tonight — and then called for an up or down vote on whether or not to authorize to go to war."

Cruz, as is typical, has employed war rhetoric in speaking about the ISIS threat, encouraging U.S. forces to bomb the terrorists "back to the Stone Age." He, too, believes the president must ask Congress in order to act on military strikes, but has been emphatic that ISIS must be taken out at any cost, calling for a "directed, concerted, overwhelming campaign," The Hill said.

Republican governors mentioned as possible 2016 presidential candidates like Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush have offered general statements about handling ISIS, while Chris Christie has been largely silent and Scott Walker has suggested most Americans are focused on the economy, not threats abroad.

“Governors don’t get involved because it’s not their prerogative, if you will. It doesn’t affect them," former White House political director Ron Kaufman told The Hill of their outsider status. "Even those who are thinking of running for president in 2016, they all want to wait until after the 2014 election.

"Republicans have been very focused to their credit, on ’14 versus ’16.”


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While the possible GOP presidential contenders don't all agree on strategy for handling the ISIS threat, one thing setting Republican senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio apart in a crowded field is their knowledge on foreign policy.
GOP presidential candidates, ISIS, Rubio, Cruz, Paul
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2014-07-16
Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 11:07 AM
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