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Rand: Obama’s Syria and Iraq Actions ‘Unconstitutional,’ ‘With Him On a Lot Of the Criminal Justice Reform’

Kentucky Senator Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul argued the president’s anti-ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria is “unconstitutional” and said he “mostly” agrees with banning the box from federal job applications and “generally” agrees with the president’s prison release on Tuesday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Wolf.”

Rand said that the president’s actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria are “unconstitutional, and our Founding Fathers were very clear that the initiation of war, the beginning of war, the declaration of war should be from the people’s house, from Congress. and so, even President Obama agreed with this when he ran for office in 2007, when he said no president should unilaterally go out — go to war without the approval of Congress. He doesn’t agree with that so much anymore, but that’s a real problem for me.”

When asked if he would seek such authorization, Rand stated he’s against sending boots on the ground, but “if we went to war, and there was a declaration of war, I would put overwhelming force. I wouldn’t mess around.”

Rand was then asked about President Obama’s order that federal employers should remove boxes on job applications that ask applicants if they have felony records, he responded, “I’m with him on a lot of the criminal justice reform, and on individual companies advising them to do it voluntarily, yes, I’m for that, for the federal government doing it, mostly yes. I think there can always be exemptions to every rule, obviously, federal child care and things like that, there have to be more stringent rules on who can to be hired, but I think a guy who smoked pot or sold marijuana when they were 20 years old deserves a second chance, and so I’m a big believer in second chances. And I think that if we wanted people to be employed and not back in the drug trade, we should allow their records to be expunged and go away, give them a second chance, particularly if we’re talking about non-violent crime.”

Rand was also questioned on whether he agreed with the president releasing thousands of prisoners. Rand stated, “I generally favor it, I don’t want to say I know every instance of everyone that got released, because I don’t want to be responsible for that, because I haven’t looked at their records, but in general, yes, I think they should be. Many of these people are minorities, African-Americans, who got sentences sometimes two, three, four, fives times longer than their white counterparts, because there’s a disparity in sentencing between crack cocaine and powder cocaine. There are some people in our prisons, who are black primarily, who are — who were given sentences of 10 and 15 years, whereas a white kid that was going to college and using powder cocaine got six months or probation. That’s still not fair, and the fact that the president is correcting some of that, I commend him and would support that. I don’t want to support every individual incidence, because I haven’t had time to look at every file to make sure it was a correct decision.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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