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Seth McLaughlin

Seth McLaughlin, a reporter on the Politics Desk, can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SethMcLaughlin1

Articles by Seth McLaughlin

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, is calling for the GOP to adopt a more restrained and less interventionist approach to global affairs, and is embracing the sequester cuts to the defense budget that have military hawks in a tizzy. (Associated Press)

Marco Rubio, Rand Paul differ on Middle East

Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul — in what could be a preview of a 2016 Republican presidential primary showdown — are staking out markedly different positions on U.S. intervention in the world, and particularly on American policy toward the Middle East Published March 3, 2013

Credit agencies shrug off sequesters

While lawmakers in Washington braced for disaster, the nation's big three credit rating agencies yawned at the sequester cuts set to kick in Friday, saying the trims won't hurt the credit-worthiness of the federal government as long as Congress doesn't stop there. Published February 28, 2013

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, pictured in his office at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013,  has earned nearly universal praise for his handling of Superstorm Sandy, the state's worst natural disaster. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

FLASHBACK: CPAC: Chris Christie snubbed for criticizing GOP on Sandy relief

The list of speakers at next month's CPAC, the nation's largest gathering of conservatives, will not include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — a snub the potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate earned, organizers said, because of his harsh criticism earlier this year of fellow Republicans over Superstorm Sandy spending. Published February 26, 2013

Rep. Edward J. Markey (left) is still favored to win the the Democratic runoff election for a Senate seat against Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, which will decide who moves on to the June 25 special election. (Associated Press)

Health law doubts impacting Massachusetts Senate race

The race to fill former Sen. John F. Kerry's seat is shaping up as an unexpected test for President Obama's health care overhaul in Massachusetts — the state that provided the blueprint for the administration's signature achievement. Published February 25, 2013

Political strategist Karl Rove. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Tea partyers fight for right-thinking GOP; electability vs. principle at issue

Though years in the brewing, the internal fight over the direction of the Republican Party has exploded onto front pages and political talk shows this month after strategist Karl Rove announced the formation of a new political action committee designed to promote more electable candidates. Published February 24, 2013

President Obama and his administration are pressuring Republicans to cancel the sequester cuts and replace them with tax increases and different spending cuts. (Associated Press)

Polls show urgency of looming cuts gets a shrug

Polls show that President Obama is winning the advance-blame game in the sequester battle, but the looming cuts to domestic and defense spending are not registering with most people outside the Washington echo chamber. Published February 21, 2013

Israel stop a boost to Marco Rubio’s foreign policy profile

Sen. Marco Rubio met Wednesday with leaders in Israel as part of a swing through the Middle East, as the Florida Republican sought to burnish his foreign policy resume by paying tribute to the nation's top ally in the region. Published February 20, 2013

**FILE** Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (Associated Press)

Report: Romney to address CPAC gathering in March

The Americans Conservative Action Conference announced Wednesday that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, will make his first public appearance since the November election to speak next month at the 40th annual gathering of the Conservative Political Action Conference. Published February 20, 2013

Ex-commission members chase a solution to runaway debt

The leaders of the defunct White House debt commission Tuesday floated a new deficit-reduction plan and warned that President Obama's legacy is riding on his ability to rein in runaway government spending. Published February 19, 2013

President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, want to repair their injured party after devastating congressional election losses but have diverging mandates at a critical time. (Associated Press)

Obama's liberal agenda seen as risky for red state Democrats

House Speaker John A. Boehner's new "Senate first" strategy could put red state Democrats — especially those facing potentially tough re-election battles in 2014 — in a tough spot: Reject the White House's liberal second-term agenda and run afoul of party leaders, or back the president and alienate voters back home. Published February 18, 2013

**FILE** Sen. Jay Rockefeller, West Virginia Democrat, speaks Aug. 3, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Associated Press)

Crystal Ball: Senate Democrats on high alert in seven 2014 races

Borrowing a grading system based on the "Star Trek" franchise, the University of Virginia's Center for Politics warns on Thursday in its latest breakdown of the 2014 Senate races that Senate Democrats should be on high alert in seven states in which they hold seats. Published February 14, 2013

Rubio, Paul reflect GOP split on defense cuts

The two Republican rebuttals to the State of the Union address Tuesday night reinforced the GOP's commitment to cutting spending — but the dueling responses from Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul also exposed a split in the party over how that philosophy applies to the defense budget. Published February 13, 2013

**FILE** Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, speaks Feb. 7, 2013, with The Associated Press in his Capitol Hill office in Washington. (Associated Press)

Rubio pushes ahead with school choice bill

Following through on his promise to promote school choice, Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a measure Wednesday that would create tax incentives aimed at helping students cover the costs of private school. Published February 13, 2013

** FILE ** Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican. (Associated Press)

State of Union response carries risk for Marco Rubio

After the State of the Union address Tuesday night, Sen. Marco Rubio steps before the cameras to deliver one of the Republican responses — and the stakes couldn't be higher for the high-profile young senator. Published February 10, 2013

"What the United States needs now is a policy that finds that middle path. ... A foreign policy that is reluctant, restrained by constitutional checks and balances but does not appease," said Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Sen. Paul pleads for sanity, balance on foreign policy

Drawing a contrast between himself and Capitol Hill Republicans whom he tied to a longtime "war caucus," Sen. Rand Paul called Wednesday for a "saner, more balanced" approach to foreign policy that strikes a balance between neoconservative and isolationist thinking. Published February 6, 2013

House Majority Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican (Associated Press)

Cantor shifts stance on immigration reform, backs pathway for 'Dreamers'

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor called on Congress on Tuesday to carve out a pathway to citizenship for so-called Dreamers — illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. at a young age — making him the highest-ranking Republican leader to embrace the legalization of a broad category of people living in the U.S. illegally. Published February 5, 2013

Sen. Ted Cruz (Associated Press)

Cruz 0-for-11 in Senate and proud of it

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has been on the losing side of every vote the Senate has taken in his young career — the only senator who can claim that distinction, boosting his anti-establishment credentials and earning him rave reviews from grass-roots conservatives. Published February 3, 2013