Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ron Paul Attacks Obama, Romney On Civil Liberties

Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the only remaining GOP candidate who is actively campaigning against Mitt Romney, has stepped up his attacks on President Barack Obama and Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney on their positions regarding civil liberties for U.S. citizens.  The Paul campaign says explicitly on its blog that, "Obama worse than Bush on civil liberties, Romney no different from Obama."

In particular, the Ron Paul 2012 campaign cites both Romney and Obama's support for the National Defense Authorization Act which permits the detention of U.S. citizens without the right to counsel or an initial hearing before a judge to determine whether the detention is lawful if the U.S. citizen is accused of terrorism.   

Paul's criticism comes just as U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Romney on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania.  Rubio also came under attack last year by Tea Party members and libertarian-leaning Republicans for his support of NDAA which prompted Rubio to issue a letter where he attempted to explain why he supported the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012:

"Several people have asked about my votes on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.  In particular, some people are wrongly suggesting that this legislation will allow the military to capture and indefinitely detain any American citizen, and that the US Armed Forces would be able to perform law enforcement functions on American soil because of the authority conferred under Sections 1031 and 1032 of the Act.  While I do have other serious concerns with this legislation, those particular assertions could not be further from the truth.  I want to take this time to explain what the law actually does, what my position is on these issues, and why I joined with Senators Demint, Coburn and Lee to vote for those specific sections, but against cloture on the final bill. 

Section 1031 of this act merely affirms the authority that the president already has to detain certain people pursuant to the current Authorization for Use of Military Force; in fact, this same section of the bill specifically states that nothing stated in Section 1031 is intended to expand the president’s power.  In addition, this section sets specific limits on who can be detained under this act to only those people who planned or helped carry out the 9/11 attacks on the United States or people who are a member of, or substantially support, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or their respective affiliates.  There is no language that could possibly be construed as repealing the Posse Comitatus Act and allowing the US military to supplant your local police department in carrying out typical law enforcement activities."

Rubio endorsed Romney last month, a week after former Florida Governor Jeb Bush's endorsement.  Rubio said that Mitt Romney offers "A stark contrast to the President's record.... I think all of the candidates who have run in the race have a lot to be proud of - they offered a lot to the debate.  But I just can't buy into this idea that, by their own admission, there saying the only way they can win this race is by having a floor fight in Tampa in August, and I think that's a recipe to deliver four more years to Barack Obama - and our country, forget about the Republican Party, our country cannot afford that.  And so we have got to come together behind who I think has earned this nomination, and that's Mitt Romney."