Here’s Where Rand Paul And Barack Obama Found Common Ground

The libertarian and the president are on the same side of Paul’s Iraq push”¦ for now.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 15: U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) arrives at the Senate Republican Policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol October 15, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The U.S. government shutdown is entering its 15th day as the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives remain gridlocked on funding the federal government. 
Getty Images
Jordain Carney
Jan. 14, 2014, 6:42 a.m.

Sen. Rand Paul wants to re­voke the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s abil­ity to re-in­vade Ir­aq at will, and he’s get­ting ta­cit sup­port from a seem­ingly un­likely ally — the White House.

Paul will in­tro­duce le­gis­la­tion on Tues­day to re­peal the Au­thor­iz­a­tion of the Use of Mil­it­ary Force in Ir­aq. But it marks one of the few times the White House and the Ken­tucky Re­pub­lic­an — who is known for his strong anti-in­ter­ven­tion­ist streak — agree on a de­fense is­sue. They’ve sparred over the past year on the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s use of drone strikes, the hand­ling of Syr­ia, and the Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency’s in­tel­li­gence-gath­er­ing pro­grams.

“The Ad­min­is­tra­tion sup­ports the re­peal of the Ir­aq AUMF since it is no longer used for any U.S. Gov­ern­ment activ­it­ies,” said Caitlin Hay­den, a spokes­per­son for the White House Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Coun­cil, in a state­ment to For­eign Policy, which re­ceived an ad­vanced copy of the le­gis­la­tion. “We un­der­stand that some in Con­gress are con­sid­er­ing le­gis­la­tion re­lated to the Ir­aq AUMF, and we will cer­tainly ex­am­ine these pro­pos­als as they come for­ward.”

An ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial noted that re­peal­ing the Ir­aq AUMF was not a pri­or­ity for the ad­min­is­tra­tion be­cause it would be largely sym­bol­ic. Paul’s push comes more than two years after the ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounced the end to the Ir­aq War in late 2011.

But the White House’s hands-off ap­proach to Paul’s le­gis­la­tion could help him gain Demo­crat­ic sup­port­ers. A sim­il­ar pro­pos­al by Paul in 2011 failed by a 30-67 vote. 

If Paul’s pro­pos­al is suc­cess­ful, the ad­min­is­tra­tion could strike back against ter­ror­ist activ­ity in Ir­aq be­cause of the re­sur­gance in al-Qaida-linked vi­ol­ence. Un­der the AUMF signed by Pres­id­ent George W. Bush in 2001 the mil­it­ary can take ac­tion nearly any­where al-Qaida or an al-Qaida-linked group is loc­ated. 

What We're Following See More »
Libertarians Getting a Second Look?
5 hours ago
Trump Floats Gingrich, Kasich as Running Mates
5 hours ago

Newt Gringrich is actively positioning himself as a possible VP nominee for Donald Trump, according to National Review. After a New York Times piece mentioned him as a possible running mate, he said, "It is an honor to be mentioned. We need a new Contract with America to outline a 100-day plan to take back Washington from the lobbyists, bureaucrats, unions, and leftists. After helping in 1980 with Reagan and 1995 as speaker I know we have to move boldly and decisively before the election results wear off and the establishment starts fighting us. That is my focus." Meanwhile, Trump told CNN he'd be "interested in vetting" John Kasich as well.

House Dems Push on Puerto Rico, Citing Zika
7 hours ago

"House Democrats are stepping up pressure on Republicans to advance legislation addressing Puerto Rico’s worsening debt crisis by issuing a report arguing that austerity cuts can’t be sustained and have made the island more vulnerable to the mosquito-borne Zika virus." Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee released a report yesterday that argued "further sharp reductions in government spending can’t be a part of a legislative solution"—especially with a rainy season boosting the mosquito population and stressing an island health system already struggling to deal with the Zika virus.

Clapper: ISIS Can Stage Attacks in U.S.
7 hours ago

"ISIS has the capability to stage a Paris-style attack in the U.S. using local cells to strike in multiple locations and inflict dozens of casualties, according to the Obama administration's top U.S. intelligence official." Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN's Peter Bergen that such a scenario is "something we worry about a lot in the United States, that they could conjure up a raid like they did in Paris or Brussels."

Trump to Name VP Search Committee
8 hours ago

"Donald J. Trump said on Wednesday that he expected to reveal his vice presidential pick sometime in July—before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland—but added that he would soon announce a committee to handle the selection process, which would include Dr. Ben Carson." He said he's inclined to name a traditional political figure, unlike himself.