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Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty speaks to local residents at The Sports Page bar & grill in Indianola, Iowa, on July 20. He is among Republican presidential candidates refusing to sign a pledge denouncing gay marriage. But gay activists intend to eventually pin him down on his attitude. (Associated Press)

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty speaks to local residents at The Sports Page bar & grill in Indianola, Iowa, on July 20. He is among Republican presidential candidates refusing to sign a pledge denouncing gay marriage. But gay activists intend to eventually pin him down on his attitude. (Associated Press)

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Say hello, Assad: See the Navy warships off the coast of Syria

The Navy has sent four warships — USS Ramage, USS Mahan, USS Gravely and USS Barry — armed with ballistic missiles into the eastern Mediterranean Sea amid violence in Syria. Navy ships are capable of a variety of military actions, including launching Tomahawk cruise missiles as they did against Libya in 2011.