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Does Marco Rubio ‘Stand with Rand’ on drones?

Rand Paul supporters at CPAC 2013

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Rand Paul supporters at CPAC 2013



The most visible stickers and signs at CPAC were those proclaiming “Stand with Rand,” a reference to the filibuster over U.S. drone policy that gave a shot of national attention to Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and helped him edge Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the conference’s straw poll.

Rubio stood with Paul during the filibuster, taking to the Senate floor on March 6. Casual observers might have thought Rubio shared Paul’s concern about drones. Rubio, however, only said he thinks Paul deserved an answer from the Obama administration over whether a U.S. citizen could be targeted on U.S. soil. No, Attorney General Eric Holder finally answered.

That ended Paul’s filibuster and the Senate voted to confirm John Brennan as CIA director. Rubio sided with the majority, choosing not to stand with Rand.

But what about the overarching concern with drones?

“I think the American drone program is an important program, which I’m supportive of if used appropriately,” Rubio said in an interview. “My biggest problem with the drone program is we no longer interrogate terrorists. Right now we’re not getting any information from terrorists because the first option is to kill them.”

“As far as domestic use, look, the technology sometimes outruns our laws," Rubio continued. "It’s important to be careful about that. I’m not necessarily concerned about the drones being misused tomorrow but I do think that debate is important so we can set clear parameters. You don’t know what that issue will look like 10-20 years down the road."

“It’s a good thing we have technologies that have evolved that allows us to have that kind of influence," Rubio continued. "I wish we would capture more of these terrorists. One of the reasons we don’t is because we have no place to take them. The president doesn’t want to bring anybody else to Guantanamo, for example. He wants to bring them to Article 3 courts, like Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law.”

Rubio's comments reflect his hawkish approach to foreign policy and illustrate one of the biggest differences between him and Paul, who says he's considering a run for president in 2016.

"We can't solve every war. We can't be involved in every armed conflict. But we also can't be retreating from the world," Rubio said during CPAC.

Paul called for less foreign aid. “I say not one penny more to countries that are burning our flag."

[Last modified: Monday, March 18, 2013 3:19pm]


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