john kerry

A Day After Attacking Clinton, Rand Paul Grills Kerry

by Dana Hughes, ABC News  |  published on January 27, 2013

On Wednesday Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that if he were president, he would have fired her over her handling of the Benghazi crisis.

On Thursday, in a confirmation hearing in which nearly every senator, Democrat and Republican, heaped glowing praise upon their colleague John Kerry, D- Mass., who’s been nominated for secretary of state, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., posed contentious questions to Kerry about the U.S.’s role on the world stage. It quickly became apparent that the two senators not only had different political opinions, but different world views. Rand seems to see the world in absolutes; Kerry maintains intervention in world affairs be judged on a case-by-case basis.

Paul, who was publicly critical of President Obama’s authorizing U.S. action in Libya to help depose Mohamar Gadhafi, wanted to know Kerry’s take on a president’s authorizing military action without congressional approval. Kerry responded that, although he is a strong supporter of the War Powers Act, which requires the president to seek congressional authority to declare war, he also supports the right of a president to act in an emergency.

“I supported Ronald Reagan when he sent troops into Grenada. I supported George H.W. Bush when he sent troops into Panama. I supported President Clinton when, against the will of the Congress, he did what was needed to be done in Kosovo and Bosnia, so forth. And in this particular instance, I think the president behaved in that tradition,” said Kerry.

Paul suggested Kerry is cherry-picking the Constitution. He pointedly asked Kerry to defend his anti-war stance in the 1970s against Richard Nixon’s decision to bomb Cambodia, on the one hand, and President Obama’s actions in Libya on the other. Kerry responded that the circumstances of the conflicts were different: Vietnam had been waging for years without Congressional approval, unlike the situation in Libya.

Paul was unmoved.

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