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In NH to back Brown, Rubio slams Shaheen on foreign policy

By DAN TUOHY
New Hampshire Union Leader

October 07. 2014 7:54PM
Rebublican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown, left, speaks at an event with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in Derry on Tuesday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)



DERRY — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, while in New Hampshire to boost Scott Brown’s bid for U.S. Senate, portrayed Sen. Jeanne Shaheen as a Democrat intent on “running interference” for President Obama on foreign policy.

“If she’s reelected, God forbid, the first vote she will take is to reelect Harry Reid as the majority leader — someone who uses the United States Senate as a platform to run interference for the failed foreign policy of this President,” Rubio said Tuesday.

Rubio, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, endorsed Brown at Halligan Tavern in Derry before the two led a foreign policy discussion with local veterans.

Rubio claimed Obama’s foreign policy is influenced by internal polls based on domestic issues.

Rubio supported airstrikes to combat the Islamic State militants and said U.S. leaders should not say what America won’t do in the war on terror.

He said America must maintain the strongest military in the world. “We should never, ever be in a fair fight,” he said. “The bottom line is that without American leadership on the global stage, what’s left behind is a vacuum. Only the United States can fill that void, and in absence of it, what’s left behind is chaos.”

One of the final questions asked was about potential for articles of impeachment to be brought forth in the U.S. House of Representatives. Brown said that is unlikely, and that the best “check and balance” is for Republicans to win majority control of the U.S. Senate.

Rubio said he understands the frustration with President Obama, but he said Obama will leave office in two years. Republicans are not just the opposition, but the alternative, Rubio said.

Brown continued to criticize Obama on “precipitously” withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, which Brown said allowed for jihadists to flourish and enabled the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to grow its radical base.

Brown called it “Obama’s 2011 decision.” Shaheen accuses Brown of trying to rewrite history because she says the decision to withdraw U.S. military forces was made by the Bush administration.

Former state Sen. Gary Lambert, a retired Marine who introduced Brown in Derry, repeated the line that Obama pulled troops early from Iraq. “Jeanne Shaheen should have spoken up,” said Lambert, who is honorary chairman of the “Veterans for Brown” coalition.

After the event, Lambert, who served in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, said Obama cannot distance himself from the troop withdrawal while at the same time taking credit for it.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party held a news conference with foreign policy experts to counter Rubio’s visit and endorsement.

Doug Wilson, a senior fellow at the Truman Project and a past spokesman for the Pentagon, said Shaheen has shown the “courage of her convictions,” as he cited her vote on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last year to authorize the use of limited military strikes in Syria in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical attacks on civilians. Wilson said Shaheen, in saying “all options are on the table,” took a serious and sensible approach to the danger and potential threat to U.S. interests.

dtuohy@unionleader.com


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