WASHINGTON — Like Congress, the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate in Florida are split over the military mission in Libya.
George LeMieux and Mike McCalister support involvement, in different ways, while Adam Hasner and Mike Haridopolos do not.
The engagement has triggered tense debate in Washington over President Barack Obama's refusal to seek congressional approval, the U.S. reach in foreign affairs and the cost, at least $800 million so far.
LeMieux: "I support our efforts in Libya to prevent Moammar Gadhafi from massacring his own people. Gadhafi 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."
McCalister: "We should have covertly eliminated the threat and avoided the current entangled mess under NATO treaty commitments. 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."
Haridopolos: "Sen. Haridopolos does not believe that we should have gone into Libya because it did not pose a direct threat to the U.S. 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."
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 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."
Incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, whom the Republicans are vying to challenge in 2012, has supported the operation in Libya, as has Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.