Late Friday evening we all learned of the carnage happening in Paris where over one-hundred people were slaughtered by terrorists representing the Islamic State. This event changed the course of history to an extent, and will also change the course of the Presidential election as the focus on foreign policy once again takes center stage. Here is a breakdown of candidate responses to the attack.


This list will lead off with the top six Republican candidates followed by all three Democratic candidates.

Donald Trump:

“When you look at Paris — you know the toughest gun laws in the world, Paris — nobody had guns but the bad guys. Nobody had guns. Nobody,” Trump said at a rally here. “They were just shooting them one by one and then they (security forces) broke in and had a big shootout and ultimately killed the terrorists.”

“You can say what you want, but if they had guns, if our people had guns, if they were allowed to carry –” Trump said, pausing as the crowd erupted into raucous applause, “– it would’ve been a much, much different situation.”

Ben Carson:

Asked how he would handle the threat of violent Islamists if he were elected president, Carson became even more soft-spoken than normal.

‘I think America’s involvement should be trying to eliminate them completely,’ he said. ‘Destroy them!’ asked Carson how he would persuade Americans that if a Paris-style attack were to hit the United States, his calm, low-volume style wouldn’t hold him back from mounting a vigorous and energetic response.

‘I would say strength is not determined by the number of decibels in your voice,’ Carson responded.

And if he held the Oval Office, he predicted, ‘I think that will be very apparent to people very quickly.’

The world’s attention was sharply focused on Paris on Friday night as a series of coordinated terror attacks rippled through the heart of the city – leaving more than 140 dead.

Marco Rubio:

Republican presidential candidate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said U.S. allies should invoke the collective defense clause of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in response to terrorist attacks in Paris.

“This is clearly an act of war and an attack on one of our NATO allies, and we should invoke Article 5 of the NATO agreement, and bring everyone together to put together a coalition to confront this challenge,” Mr. Rubio said Sunday morning on ABC.

Ted Cruz:

“A strong Commander in Chief would say the following: We are going to utterly destroy ISIS, we are not going to weaken them, we are not going to degrade them,” said Cruz.

Cruz also went on to say that he believes ISIS intends for those kinds of attacks in Paris to come to the United States.

“They intend to carry out similar attacks here in the United States murdering innocent men and women,” he said.

Senator Cruz also made it known that right now, he doesn’t believe it’s required to send in a significant U.S. ground presence.

“Americans have always been hesitant to use military power, it’s always been the last step we use, we use every other tool first and only when we need to,” said Cruz.

Jeb Bush:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said the attacks rocking Paris late Friday represented the “war” the U.S. and other countries must engage in against Islamic militants.

“This is an organized effort to destroy western civilization, and we need to lead in this regard,” the Republican presidential candidate said on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program.

Bush argued that the U.S. should fortify its alliances with European allies on intelligence and counterintelligence capabilities to defeat the “Islamic terrorists.”

He also called for the U.S. to further engage in the Middle East to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which he suggested could be a ”wellspring” for such an attack.

“This is the war of our time,” Bush said. “And we have to be serious in engaging and creating a strategy to confront it and take it out.”

Rand Paul:

Speaking at a Republican presidential forum in Orlando, Paul said Rubio’s opposition to one of his amendments to the 2013 Gang of Eight immigration bill, which would have enhanced screening requirements for those entering the country, damaged national security.

“Two, three years ago, I introduced a bill, or an amendment, to the immigration bill that would have provided for more scrutiny of people coming into our country: refugees, immigrants, students,” Paul said, when asked about his response to Friday’s attacks. “They would have had background checks and they would have had a much higher degree of scrutiny. And the point I made in my speech was, I introduced this to Rubio and (Democratic Sen. Chuck) Schumer’s immigration bill and then Rubio and Schumer and all of the authors voted against any conservative amendments. And I think that was a mistake, not only for the bill, but also for our national security.”

Hillary Clinton:

She [Hillary Clinton] called ISIS a “barbaric, ruthless, violent jihadist terrorist group.” And in an effort to remind the audience of what’s a stake, she added, “This election is not only about electing a president. It’s also about choosing our next commander in chief.”

Moderator John Dickerson of CBS News pressed Clinton, using Obama’s words that he didn’t “think ISIS is gaining strength.” Dickerson cited polling numbers that “72 percent of Americans think the fight against ISIS is going badly. Won’t the legacy of this administration, which is— which you were a part of, won’t that legacy be that it underestimated the threat from ISIS?”

Clinton responded this way: “I think that we have to look at ISIS as the leading threat of an international terror network. It cannot be contained, it must be defeated.”

That seemed to be a prepared line from Clinton, alluding to President Obama’s interview on ABC Thursday, the day before the Paris attacks, in which he said, “From the start, our goal has been first to contain, and we have contained them.”

Clinton later said, however, “This cannot be an American fight, although American leadership is essential.”

Bernie Sanders:

On Sunday, Dickerson followed up with Sanders as the senator made an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” which Dickerson hosts. Sanders said the CIA and the Defense Department back up the notion that climate change can lead to terrorism, and aides later pointed to a report bolstering his case.

“If we are going to see an increase in drought, flood and extreme weather disturbances as a result of climate change, what that means is that people all over the world are going to be fighting over limited natural resources,” Sanders said. “If there is not enough water, if there is not enough land to grow your crops, then you’re going to see migrations of people fighting over land that will sustain them, and that will lead to international conflicts.”

“But how does drought connect with attacks by [the Islamic State] in the middle of Paris?” Dickerson asked.

“When you have drought, when people can’t grow their crops, they’re going to migrate into cities, and when people migrate into cities and they don’t have jobs, there’s going to be a lot more instability, a lot more unemployment and people will be subject to the types of propaganda that al-Qaeda and ISIS are using right now,” Sanders said, using an alternative name for the Islamic State. “So where you have discontent, where you have instability, that’s where problems arise, and certainly, without a doubt, climate change will lead to that.”

Martin O’Malley:

Martin O’Malley started by saying his heart goes out to France and parents with family members there.

“We must remember that this the new face of conflict and warfare … in the 21st century. And there is no nation on the planet better able to adapt to this change than our nation.”

He added: “We must be able to work collaboratively with others, we must anticipate these threats before they happen. This is the new sort of threat that requires new thinking … and new leadership.”

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