Bayh, Pawlenty spar over Georgia

Aug. 17, 2008 at 7:36 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Two of the possible U.S. vice presidential picks -- Democrat Evan Bayh and Republican Tim Pawlenty -- squared off Sunday over the crisis in Georgia.

Bayh, a U.S. senator from Indiana, and Pawlenty, the governor of Minnesota, each defended their candidates' stances on Russia's incursion into the Republic of Georgia in appearances on CBS's "Face the Nation" program.

Pawlenty said presumptive Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, rightfully says he would deploy U.S. forces when America's national security interests are challenged.

"I think he's acknowledged that military action in this particular situation is unlikely, but as commander in chief, he wants to make sure all options remain available to him, and that's understandable," Pawlenty said.

Bayh said it is Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, the senator from Illinois, who has the judgment to handle crises like the Georgian one.

"If we were Georgians and the Russians were invading our country and killing our people, we'd be in a state of war," he said. "And clearly, that's not what we want. And John, sometimes, he's a good person, but he's a little bit given to this kind of bellicose rhetoric, which has a tendency to inflame conflicts rather than to diffuse them."

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