04 21 2015
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  • When should we use military to enforce US goals? NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Rand Paul lashed out Saturday at military hawks in the Republican Party in a clash over foreign policy dividing the packed GOP presidential field. Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky who favors a smaller U.S. footprint in the world, said that some of his Republican colleagues would do more harm in international affairs than would leading Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. "The other Republicans will criticize the president and Hillary Clinton for their foreign policy, but they would just have done the same thing — just 10 times over," Paul said on the closing day of a New Hampshire GOP conference that brought about 20 presidential prospects to the first-in-the-nation primary state. "There's a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more," Paul said. Foreign policy looms large in the presidential race as the U.S. struggles to resolve diplomatic and military conflicts across the globe. The GOP presidential class regularly rails against President Barack Obama's leadership on the world stage, yet some would-be contenders have yet to articulate their own positions, while others offered sharply different visions. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother, President George W. Bush, authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, declined to say whether he would have done anything different then. Yet Jeb Bush acknowledged a shift in his party against new military action abroad. "Our enemies need to fear us, a little bit, just enough for them to deter the actions that create insecurity," Bush said earlier in the conference. He said restoring alliances "that will create less likelihood of America's boots on the ground has to be the priority, the first priority of the next president." The GOP's hawks were well represented at the event, led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has limited foreign policy experience but articulated a muscular vision during his Saturday keynote address. Walker said the threats posed by radical Islamic terrorism won't be handled simply with "a couple bombings." "We're not going to wait till they bring the fight to us," Walker said. "We're going to bring the fight to them and fight on their soil." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the question of putting U.S. troops directly in the battle against the Islamic State group militants by saying there is only one way to defeat the militants: "You go over there and you fight them so they don't come here." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested an aggressive approach as well. "The way to defeat ISIS is a simple and clear military objective," he said. "We will destroy them." Businesswoman Carly Fiorina offered a similar outlook. "The world is a more dangerous and more tragic place when America is not leading. And America has not led for quite some time," she said. Under Obama, a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Arab countries is conducting regular airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. also has hundreds of military advisers in Iraq helping Iraqi security forces plan operations against the Islamic State, which occupies large chunks of northern and western Iraq. Paul didn't totally reject the use of military force, noting that he recently introduced a declaration of war against the Islamic State group. But in an interview with The Associated Press, he emphasized the importance of diplomacy. He singled out Russia and China, which have complicated relationships with the U.S., as countries that could contribute to U.S. foreign policy interests. "I think the Russians and the Chinese have great potential to help make the world a better place," he said. "I don't say that naively that they're going to, but they have the potential to." Paul suggested the Russians could help by getting Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power. "Maybe he goes to Russia," Paul said. Despite tensions with the U.S., Russia and China negotiated alongside Washington in nuclear talks with Iran. Paul has said he is keeping an open mind about the nuclear negotiations. "The people who already are very skeptical, very doubtful, may not like the president for partisan reasons," he said, and "just may want war instead of negotiations."
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(CNN) -- North Carolina lawmakers passed a measure that requires residents to present photo identification to vote, joining a handful of other states that have approved the controversial proposal.


The Republican-dominated House approved the measure late Thursday night , saying it will help prevent voter fraud. It passed the state's Senate a day earlier.

"A measure that restores confidence in our election process and ensures voters are who they say they are is a no-brainer -- and nearly three-quarters of North Carolinians agree," said Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger. "This bill will bring North Carolina in line with the majority of other states that already require voter ID."

In the past two years, at least 11 states have approved laws requiring voters to show identification at voting booths.

'Attacks democracy at its core'

But critics slammed it as an effort to disenfranchise poor, minority and disabled voters

It "attacks democracy at its core" by making it harder for eligible voters, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina said.

"Many of these restrictions, such as eliminating pre-registration for 16 and 17-year-olds, and disallowing use of college IDs at the polls, will severely discourage young people from participating in elections," the group said in a statement.

"Others, such as shortening early voting and making it more difficult to set up satellite polling stations will be extremely burdensome for elderly and disabled voters who rely on such methods to cast their votes."

It listed what it described as "harsh provisions" in the measure, including eliminating same-day voter registration, shortening early voting and eliminating state-mandated voter registration drives.

Proponents of the bill say it will stop voter fraud, asserting that having a valid, government-issued photo identification is a reasonable, modern-day necessity.

'Common-sense provision'

A poll this year showed that more than 72 percent of North Carolina residents support requiring voters to show photo ID before being casting their ballot, according to Berger.

He described it as a "hugely popular, common-sense" provision.

Last month, the Supreme Court voted to halt the enforcement requirements of the Voting Rights Act. Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act required some states with a history of voter discrimination to get "precleared" by the federal government before making any changes to voting laws. North Carolina was among those states.

The high court's ruling essentially allows states to make adjustments to voting laws without "preclearance" from the federal government.

Requests by Texas and Mississippi for clearance in their voter ID laws were pending with the federal government when the high court struck down Section 5.

Federal government steps in

Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday expressed displeasure with last month's change in the Voting Rights Act.

"For nearly five decades, ... preclearance served as a potent tool for addressing inequities in our election systems. Although preclearance originated during the Civil Rights Movement -- and was informed by a history of discrimination -- the conduct that it was intended to address continues to this day," he said.

Holder said he has directed the Justice Department to ask a Texas federal court to subject the state to a condition similar to preclearance rights. He said there is evidence of racial discrimination in the state, and thus it should be forced to go through a federal preapproval before implementing voting changes.

He said this will not be the Justice Department's last action to protect voting tights.

It will continue monitoring jurisdictions nationwide for changes that may hamper these voting rights, Holder said.

States that may wish to implement their voter ID laws may still face another hurdle, as civil rights groups and even the federal government could seek legal action to block the laws under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, another part of the law that works to prevent discrimination.

™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

 

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