- - Monday, March 5, 2012

SENATE

McCain calls for U.S. to bomb Syrian forces

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, on Monday urged the United States to launch airstrikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime to force him out of power — a call for dramatic military intervention that wasn’t supported by the Obama administration or its European or Arab partners.

Mr. McCain’s statement on the Senate floor came as the U.S. and European governments pleaded for Russia’s Vladimir Putin to rethink his anti-interventionist stance on Syria, in what appeared to be an increasingly desperate effort for consensus among world powers to stop a crackdown that has killed more than 7,500 people.

Mr. McCain, the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2008 and his party’s senior member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. should change policy by arming Syria’s rebels and spearheading a military effort to support them.

CONGRESS

Hawaii ex-lawmaker serves Afghanistan stint

While other candidates for Congress have been wooing voters and donors, former Rep. Charles Djou of Hawaii has spent the past six months in Afghanistan where he was responsible for interrogating suspected Taliban fighters.

Congress is made up of numerous war veterans. But the Republican represents a rare instance in which a former lawmaker went from the partisan skirmishes on Capitol Hill to the real battlefront.

Mr. Djou is a major in the Army Reserve and recently returned to Hawaii from a stint that comes with obvious disadvantages and advantages. He could not engage in political activities, so he was out of the public eye for six months.

However, his service will appeal to many voters regardless of their political affiliation, which is important in a Democratic stronghold like Hawaii.

MASSACHUSETTS

GOP pins hopes on Romney primary win

BOSTON — Massachusetts Republicans are hoping a big win for former Gov. Mitt Romney on Super Tuesday could put the state into play in November.

Massachusetts is one of 10 states voting in Tuesday’s contests. Polls show Mr. Romney with a commanding lead there.

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