Money talks– military cash goes to Obama
President Barack Obama greets troops at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas
October 17th, 2012
05:00 AM ET

Money talks– military cash goes to Obama

By Jennifer Rizzo

President Barack Obama's campaign has received almost double the amount of military donations that Mitt Romney's campaign has, according to data collected by a research group that tracks money and lobbying in U.S. politics.

It's a clue, perhaps, into who the military is rooting for in this presidential election. Obama has received more than $530,000 in campaign contributions from individual military donors, while Romney has taken in more than $280,000 in donations from individuals involved with the military.

Obama's lead in military donations comes despite hundreds of billions in cuts to the Defense Department and the Republican ticket blaming him for a potential half-trillion dollars more in cuts if Congress can't agree on a deficit deal.

The Center for Responsive Politics compiled the information using data reported to the Federal Election Commission and includes donations greater than $200 from both military and civilian employees of the nation's defense sector.

The group also looked at military donations given to former Republican candidate Ron Paul, who has advocated for a smaller military and bringing troops home from bases in countries like Germany and South Korea. Paul, too, received more military donations than Romney, totaling almost $400,000.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Military • Paul • Romney
Republican candidates talk national security at Arizona debate
February 23rd, 2012
04:38 AM ET

Republican candidates talk national security at Arizona debate

Wednesday’s CNN/Arizona Republican Party debate dealt with a number of topics involving national security. The presidential hopefuls spoke about the role women play in the military, force modernization and Iran’s nuclear program.

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, went after President Obama on the president’s handling of national security issues:

Everybody needs to understand - and by the way, we live in an age when we have to genuinely worry about nuclear weapons going off in our own cities. So everybody who serves in the fire department, in the police department, not just the first responders, but our National Guard, whoever is going to respond, all of us are more at risk today, men and women, boys and girls, than at any time in the history of this country… I think this is a very sober period, and I believe this is the most dangerous president on national security grounds in American history.

FULL POST


Filed under: 2012 Election • Defense Spending • Gingrich • Iran • Military • Obama • Paul • Romney • Santorum • Security Brief
Overt about covert
January 24th, 2012
03:40 PM ET

Overt about covert

By Adam Levine

For Republican candidate Newt Gingrich, covert activity seems to be the strategy of choice when it comes to thorny national security issues. The latest target:  Cuba.

"I'm talking about using every asset available in the United States, including appropriate covert operations, to maximize the distance," Gingrich said on Monday during the NBC debate between Republican candidates. "Bring together every asset we have to minimize the survival of the dictatorship and to maximize the chance for freedom in Cuba."

It's not that covert activities are not happening in different parts of the world, but it is hardly talked about by the government as openly it seems as it is by Republican candidates running to be the next command-in-chief.

Gingrich is not shy about touting covert activities, having already said such strategies should be used against Iran and Syria. On Syria, Gingrich said last year the United States should "replace" President Bashar al-Assad and "do everything we can, indirectly and covertly - but without American forces - to help." FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Cuba • Gingrich • Iran • Paul • Romney • Santorum • Syria
The spy who loved Ron Paul
January 3rd, 2012
04:50 PM ET

The spy who loved Ron Paul

By Pam Benson

Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul has been endorsed by an outspoken former CIA officer who once headed the Osama Bin Laden unit.

Michael Scheuer pulled no punches in throwing his support behind and encouraging Iowans to vote for Rep. Paul.

Scheuer was a 22-year veteran of the CIA who served as the chief of the Bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999 and continued to work on counter-terrorism issues until he left the Agency in 2004 shortly after anonymously publishing a book entitled "Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror."  He continues to write extensively about U.S. foreign policy, critical of what he believes is America's dangerous intervention in the Muslim world and kowtowing to the pro Israeli lobby.

In a lengthy column on his website entitled, "Iowa's Choice: Dr. Paul or U.S. bankruptcy, more wars and many more dead soldiers and Marines," Scheuer touted the Texas Congressman for taking principled stands against foreign intervention. FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Paul • Romney
November 22nd, 2011
06:51 PM ET

GOP candidates differ on foreign policy views

The Republican presidential hopefuls are all over the map on their foreign policy stances. CNN's Jill Dougherty reports.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Bachman • Cain • Foreign Policy • Gingrich • Huntsman • Paul • Perry • Romney • Santorum
Separating from the GOP candidate pack
November 22nd, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Separating from the GOP candidate pack

By National Security Producer Jamie Crawford

There is one area where all eight Republican candidates seem to be in complete agreement: In their minds, Barack Obama's presidency has been a failure, and his national security policies have only served to weaken America's standing in the world, and left the United States more vulnerable to attack. That consensus aside, there are positions each candidate has taken in the areas of foreign policy and national security that set them apart from the field. As CNN prepares to host a debate Tuesday night on national security topics with the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, here is a look at some distinctive positions and experiences the candidates are raising on the trail.
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Herman Cain

What sets Herman Cain completely apart from the rest of the field is his lack of foreign policy experience, and it is that distinction he is happy to wear as a badge of honor on the trail and his debate performances.

While he may lack experience in the foreign policy establishment, Cain says it would be his experience in the business world that would guide him on matters of national security.

FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Bachman • Cain • Debate Preps • Foreign Policy • Gingrich • Huntsman • Paul • Perry • Romney • Santorum
DEBATE PREP: Speak up about Mexican drug violence
Scarves embroidered with the account of murders are on display in a park in Mexico City
November 21st, 2011
01:20 PM ET

DEBATE PREP: Speak up about Mexican drug violence

Editor’s note: This analysis is part of Security Clearance blog’s “Debate Preps” series. On November 22, CNN, along with AEI and The Heritage Foundation, will host a Republican candidate debate focused on national security topics. In the run-up to the debate, Security Clearance asked both the sponsoring conservative think tanks to look at the key foreign policy issues and tell us what they want to hear candidates address.

By AEI's Roger F. Noriega, Special to CNN

Republican presidential candidates have had little constructive to say on the issue of the bloody drug violence in neighboring Mexico.  They can change that as they meet to debate on Tuesday night.

President Obama’s Mexico strategy picked up where the Bush-era “Merida Plan” package left off.  It  amounts to “less of the same,” as U.S. law enforcement and community development support is delivered in dribs and drabs.  In 2012, if Mexicans choose a new president who decides to end the anti-drug offensive, we may wish that we had done more to support our Mexican allies when we had the chance.

Outgoing President Felipe Calderon launched a frontal offensive against criminal syndicates five years ago, enlisting the military alongside outgunned civilian police.  Although the vast majority of the 35,000 deaths in recent years are the result of criminal turf wars, most innocent Mexicans are beleaguered by insecurity and violence.  Many Mexicans wonder why they are paying such a high price to fight the illicit drug trade that services the insatiable demand for drugs in the United States – particularly when U.S. policy makers appear either indifferent or worse to their plight. FULL POST


Filed under: 2012 Election • Analysis • Bachman • Cain • Congress • Debate Preps • Gingrich • Huntsman • Mexico • Paul • Perry • Romney • Santorum
DEBATE PREP:  Back to the strategic future
November 21st, 2011
06:00 AM ET

DEBATE PREP: Back to the strategic future

Editor’s note: This analysis is part of Security Clearance blog’s “Debate Preps” series. On November 22, CNN, along with AEI and The Heritage Foundation, will host a Republican candidate debate focused on national security topics. In the run-up to the debate, Security Clearance asked both the sponsoring conservative think tanks to look at the key foreign policy issues and tell us what they want to hear candidates address.

By AEI's Thomas Donnelly and Heritage Foundation's Baker Spring, Special to CNN

It is only a small exaggeration to say that the United States hasn’t had a coherent national security strategy since the end of the Cold War. To be sure, we have produced a back-breaking number of strategy documents and discussions, both in government and in think-tanks and academia.  And, at least until the Obama Administration moved into re-elect mode, there’s been a pretty consistent pattern to American strategic behavior.  But if we wish to maintain a “balance of power that favors freedom” and the American geopolitical leadership without which that balance goes tipsy, we need to start taking strategy-making seriously.

In a search for strategic clarity, we can do no better than to re-read the NSC 68 report done by the Truman Administration at the start of the Cold War.  While that document framed the policy of containment and the subsequent practical strategies that ushered the Soviet Union out of business, its enduring insight – one we appear to have lost touch with – is about the role of America in the world.  That role, the report declared, was anchored in the domestic character of the republic, and had consequences. FULL POST


Filed under: 2012 Election • Analysis • Bachman • Budget • Cain • Debate Preps • Defense Spending • Diplomacy • Gingrich • Huntsman • Military • Obama • Paul • Pentagon • Perry • Politics • Romney • Santorum • Think tank
DEBATE PREP: Missile defense is not expendable
November 20th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

DEBATE PREP: Missile defense is not expendable

Editor’s note: This analysis is part of Security Clearance blog’s “Debate Preps” series. On November 22, CNN, along with AEI and The Heritage Foundation, will host a Republican candidate debate focused on national security topics. In the run-up to the debate, Security Clearance asked both the sponsoring conservative think tanks to look at the key foreign policy issues and tell us what they want to hear candidates address.

By Heritage Foundation's Bruce Klingner and Sally McNamara, Special to CNN

Ballistic missiles pose an increasing risk to the United States and its allies, particularly as more nations strive to acquire nuclear weapons. The once exclusive nuclear weapons club now has nine members, and Iran is knocking on the clubhouse door. Altogether, at least 32 countries have ballistic missile capabilities.

Defending the United States, its forward-deployed troops, and its friends and allies against such threats should be a national security priority for the U.S. president. We have a fledgling missile defense capability. But further investment, research and procurement are needed to truly realize a fully effective ballistic missile defense (BMD) system.

FULL POST


Filed under: 2012 Election • Analysis • Bachman • Cain • China • Debate Preps • Defense Spending • Gingrich • Huntsman • Paul • Perry • Romney • Santorum
The national security brains behind the GOP candidates
November 18th, 2011
12:06 PM ET

The national security brains behind the GOP candidates

Editor's note: On November 22, CNN, along with conservative think tanks AEI and The Heritage Foundation, will host a Republican candidate debate focused on national security topics.

By Senior State Department Producer Elise Labott

There are a few models for presidential candidates seeking to bone up on national security issues.

First, there's the George W. Bush model.  You hire a lean, high-powered team of foreign policy heavyweights to help hammer out foreign policy, defense and intelligence proposals.  The Vulcans, as the Bush team was called, included former Secretary of State George Shultz and Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz.  They traded e-mail messages and held conference calls and meetings at the then-Texas governor's mansion, where they hammered out his national security positions.  Once in office, the majority of the Vulcans became Bush's national security team.

Then there's the Barack Obama model, which sucks up all the foreign policy talent in Washington to present an impressive front about the candidate's expertise, thereby denying the privilege to his competitors.  Obama was in a brain arms race with Hillary Clinton, who had a similar approach, in the '08 primary.  It's like the annual Filene's Basement wedding dress sale.  When the doors open, brides rush to scoop up all of the dresses they can find, regardless of the style or fit, depriving fellow brides a dress in case they may want it later.

The problem with this approach is that you have no idea what the bride will look like on her wedding day. FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Bachman • Cain • debate • Foreign Policy • Gingrich • Huntsman • Paul • Perry • Romney • Santorum
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