Ron Paul 'pleased' that GOP platform affirms Congress's war powers

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said Thursday he's pleased with the Republican Party's draft foreign-policy plank, despite the rejection of several amendments on nation-building from his supporters.

The draft platform was approved by the 112 delegates on the platform committee on Tuesday following two days of debate and amendment. The platform will now be voted on by all the delegates on Monday, the first day of the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla.

Asked about Paul's reaction to the plank, the chairman of his presidential campaign told The Hill that Paul got one of his key demands in the platform when delegates voted to reiterate that only Congress can declare war, as called for in the Constitution.

“There were hundreds of amendments that were offered and failed,” Jesse Benton said via email. “While we didn't get everything we wanted, we were pleased to get foreign-policy language stating that only Congress can declare war, one of our biggest priorities.”

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The delegates defeated an amendment from Paul supporters objecting to nation-building, however.

“Nation-building is a failed policy of the Democrats and we Republicans need to go back to the humble foreign policy of George Bush before 9/11,” Paul delegate Richard Ford of Rhode Island said in introducing his amendment. “9/11 pushed us into a situation where we had to do some things, but we need to go back to not creating democracies overseas that creates Islamic regimes and just focus on the goal of getting our enemies and bringing our troops home safely and as soon as possible.”

Former Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.), a Romney adviser who helped develop the party's defense and foreign-policy plank, argued against the amendment.

“I'm very concerned,” Talent said, “that [the amendment] would be read — and may be intended to be read — as getting at a whole range of tools that we regularly use in foreign policy in order to protect American security at as inexpensive a cost as possible, tools by which we assist other countries in developing grass-roots democratic and economic institutions. We've been successful at doing so in the past and in doing so have reduced conflict — just look at Germany and Japan, which we helped develop.”

Paul, a libertarian who has been sharply critical of U.S. entanglement abroad, has been avoiding criticism of the Republican establishment as the November election draws near. Paul held a separate protest rally at last year's GOP convention in St. Paul, Minn., but this year is working with the Romney campaign to seat some of his delegates and present a unified front against President Obama.