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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida GOP Senate candidates divided on Libya



Like Republicans in Congress, the leading GOP candidates for U.S. Senate in Florida are divided over Libya. George LeMieux supports the mission but not the president sidestepping Congress, while Adam Hasner and Mike Haridopolos oppose the effort. The fourth candidate, Mike McCalister says the U.S. should have "covertly" intervened.

George LeMieux: "I support our efforts in Libya to prevent Muammar Gaddafi from massacring his own people. Gaddafi is a terrorist who has the blood of his people on his hands as well as that of Americans. However, President Obama is acting in violation of our Constitution by falling to seek Congressional authority for this war; he should obtain authorization immediately."

Mike Haridopolos: "Sen. Haridopolos does not believe that we should have gone into Libya because it did not pose a direct threat to the United States and we are already stretched thin in Afghanistan and Iraq," spokesman Tim Baker said. "Additionally, he believes that we are not in an economic position to launch into a third war. Sen. Haridopolos does not support the ongoing war in Libya because the President has not made clear what the mission is nor sought Congressional approval for the war."

Adam Hasner: “I’m opposed to the way in which this President took us to war in Libya, and the fact he is keeping us there without Congressional authorization and support. But now that the President has committed American troops and put them in harm’s way, he must clearly define victory and achieve it with certainty. If we fail in Libya, it will be another instance where President Obama’s foreign policy missteps endanger America by making us less trusted by our allies and less feared by our enemies around the world. If President Obama isn’t willing to define the mission, what victory looks like, or how we are going to achieve it, then he needs to pull our military out as soon as possible.”

Mike McCalister: "We should have covertly eliminated the threat and avoided the current entangled mess under NATO treaty commitments. President Obama has mismanaged the War in Libya from day one. The President failed to: articulate a threat to U.S. national security, outline specific military objectives and rules of engagement, identify an end-state vision, and define an exit strategy.  The U.S. has already committed force. At this point, we need to eliminate the threat, fulfill our commitment to our allies, and then get out."

It should be noted that Sen. Marco Rubio -- whom LeMieux, Haridopolos and Hasner are all trying to emulate -- has been an ardent supporter of the U.S. involvement in Libya. Rubio, perhaps feeling some heat for his advocacy, has stepped up his criticism of Obama's handling of the effort.

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson also supports the U.S. involvement. Democrats in general are mixed, however, with some going along with the president and some fearing another drawn-out, expensive overseas engagement.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 5:09pm]


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