Rubio: Give ammunition to Syrian opposition

Published Feb. 27, 2013

Sen. Marco Rubio, talking today at the conservative Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said he likes the Obama administration's shift on Syria, but the U.S. should provide ammunition to opposition groups.

The Florida Republican stopped short of calling for providing weapons -- there are plenty, he said -- but maintained ammunition is needed. "We're not talking about air power," he said. We're not talking about U.S. troops."

The Obama administration is considering giving body armor, vehicles and other direct assistance, the Washington Post and others reported this morning.

Rubio's rhetoric outside such insider forums has almost universally tough on Obama, but he found little disagreement today and sounded quite measured. At one point he stressed he is not a "war hawk."

"By and large, it is not a partisan issue," Rubio said of foreign policy.

On Iran, Rubio said he is skeptical of economic sanctions but they are worth continuing. "I think we have to give it a chance."

The discussion began on a light note. Rubio noticed the pitcher of water next to him and joked it was a little much. Filling a mug, he said, "Why don't we just take care of business right up front."