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Rand Paul: Obama Has Right To Make Afghanistan War Decisions

KRISTIN M. HALL   07/17/10 10:23 PM ET   AP

Rand Paul Obama
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul speaks during a campaign rally in Erlanger, Ky., Saturday, July 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A constant critic of President Barack Obama, Republican Rand Paul on Saturday defended the president's right to make decisions on the war in Afghanistan without interference from Congress.

Without mentioning Obama by name, the U.S. Senate candidate said Congress shouldn't micromanage the war in Afghanistan and should leave the decisions on troop levels to the White House. Paul spoke Saturday in Lexington at a Fayette County GOP picnic mostly about his conservative fiscal positions that have drawn him strong Tea Party support.

"I think when they have long-winded debates over how many troops there should be in a particular location, I don't really think that's the proper role of Congress," he said.

Still, he said he has some questions about the number of Afghan security forces after nearly nine years of war.

He said he's put that question to soldiers he's met during campaigning this year. Kentucky is home to two large military installations, Fort Knox and Fort Campbell, and many National Guard members.

"The answer I get from them is they would like to see the Afghanis step up more, too," he said.

Paul stuck to his points on how to strengthen the economy during his speech, including jabs at Democrats, to approximately 200 Republicans on a stormy summer evening in the heart of Kentucky's horse country. Paul has also become known for criticising Obama, particularly for his handling of the Gulf oil spill.

"The other side believes that government creates jobs and that government is the answer," he said. "Our side believes that entrepreneurs and businesses in the private sector create jobs."

He warned that if tax cuts from former President George W. Bush are allowed to expire next year, it could push the economy over the edge.

"If we allow the tax cuts to expire, it will be the equivalent of the largest increases in our taxes in history," he said. "If there is any one thing that could push us from a recession into a depression possibly... it would be a large tax increase."

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Filed by Adam J. Rose  |