By Justin Chermol
In a presidential field that's growing more crowded by the day, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is looking to stand out by making foreign policy central to her campaign while her fellow Democratic candidates tussle over progressive moonshots like the Green New Deal or Medicare for All.
At a campaign event in Concord, N.H., during the Presidents Day weekend, Cheddar's J.D. Durkin spoke with Gabbard, who said her agenda is based on her belief that the U.S. is "addicted" to regime-change wars.
Referring to the American-Russian relationship as a "new Cold War," Gabbard said she's running to "take us back from this point where we are at a greater risk for nuclear catastrophe today than ever before in history."
"The reality is, that every single American is paying the price for our country's addiction to regime-change wars which must come to an end," Gabbard said.
The four-term, 37-year-old congresswoman is also an Iraq War veteran and current major in the National Guard ー credentials that she hopes will lend more credibility to her non-interventionist image.
As Gabbard was outlining her platform in snowy New Hampshire, President Trump was in sunny Miami, delivering his most hawkish comments yet on the escalating crisis in Venezuela with a warning to Venezuelan military leaders that they would "lose everything" if a humanitarian blockade wasn't lifted. Meanwhile, in Munich, Vice President Mike Pence was delivering similar remarks to European allies, while admonishing them for continuing to support the Iran nuclear deal.
Gabbard, who has been criticized for meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the midst of the bloody civil war in that country, said her military experience makes her most qualified among the 2020 contenders to lead the country's armed forces.
"I know personally, how important it is that we take this role of commander-in-chief seriously," she said. "The President's most important job is to serve as commander-in-chief."
Gabbard also promised a campaign free of so-called "dark money" ー saying no to super PAC and lobbyist contributions ー that she hopes will appeal to younger voters who have been discouraged by the prominent role of money in American politics.
"This is a people-powered campaign," she said. "I know that there is incredible power in the voices of the people, and I'm proud of the campaign that we are running."