Iraq war, arctic oil split Case and Akaka
U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka and U.S. Rep. Ed Case, who will face off in the Democratic primaries for Hawaii's second senatorial seat, have been on opposite sides of several key issues, including whether to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act and drill in the Alaska Wildlife Natural Refuge.
They also have differing views on the Iraq war.
In interviews this weekend, both said they would make issues of national importance -- including the war and federal spending -- a big part of their campaigns.
"I'm going to put issues out there," said Case, who announced his intention to run against Akaka on Thursday. "I don't know what Sen. Akaka does believe. Clearly, his challenge is to explain what he's been doing and what he intends to do."
Akaka, who has been in the Senate since 1990, said he wants to talk to voters about defense spending, terrorism and the importance of national parks.
He said he was still working on how he would bring up the issues in a campaign.
Akaka has long been considered a liberal Democrat, alongside his colleague U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye. Case, meanwhile, calls himself a moderate.
In November, Case voted to extend the Patriot Act, which was passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and has been criticized for infringing on citizens' civil liberties. Akaka voted against the re-authorization, which failed in the Senate. He told his colleagues, in a floor statement on Dec. 16, that he could not support the act because it did not have "meaningful checks and balances."
When it comes to ANWR, Akaka sided with Republicans in November to allow drilling while Case was opposed to the measure.
Akaka said he supported opening up the refuge to reduce dependence on foreign oil and allow economic development for native Alaskans.
The proposal has since been stalled.
"You don't create a national refuge and then turn around and un-create it," Case told the Star-Bulletin after Akaka's vote. Case has also spearheaded other environmental initiatives, including upping federal moneys and acreage for Hawaii's national parks.
Akaka and Case disagree on how the United States should proceed in Iraq.
Case said in a telephone interview that "whatever one thinks of the wisdom of our intervention, we cannot -- without great risk and harm to our nation -- set a specific timetable." He said pulling out too early will put Iraq at risk of becoming a "shelter to international terrorism."
In March 2004 he voted in favor of a resolution that said the world is safer without former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in power.
Akaka voted against going to war with Iraq and, in November, supported an amendment to a defense appropriations bill that requires the president to report to the Senate on the Iraq war every three months until every military brigade has left the country.
The bill was passed in December, and also said that 2006 should be "a period of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty."