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By CNN's Wolf Blitzer
(CNN) – When it comes to President Obama’s decision to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul couldn’t disagree more. Gingrich says the president did the right thing; Paul says he’s open to trying to impeach the president.
“The fact is, Congressman Paul is wrong about the law,” the former House speaker told me. “He’s wrong about the Constitution.”
Insisting that al-Awlaki was an “enemy combatant,” Gingrich added: “The president was exactly right legally and he was exactly right morally in killing somebody who was a threat to everybody.”
Paul strongly disagrees. He says the president violated the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.
“It’s pretty clear that you can’t take a life without due process of law, especially of an American citizen,” Paul told me. “We’ve never had a policy that said we can put somebody on an assassination list by a secret tribunal.”
Paul said Obama should have ordered al-Awlaki’s arrest and brought him to trial in the United States. As an example, he points to Israel’s capture of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in 1960 in Argentina. The Israelis brought Eichmann to Jerusalem for trial.
Paul has been suggesting that Obama could be impeached for ordering the killing of an American citizen. I asked him whether he would support introducing articles of impeachment.
“I haven’t introduced them, but I think it’s an impeachable offense,” he said. “If the mood of the country was such that they wanted to do it, yes, I could support that.”
By the way, on this issue and several other national security matters, Paul is clearly isolated from the other Republican candidates. He alone, for example, favors an immediate military pullout from Iraq and Afghanistan and from all other U.S. bases around the world.
So I asked him whether he would consider running as a third-party candidate if he didn’t win the GOP nomination. “I haven’t thought about it, and I have no plans to do that,” he said. “So, no, that wouldn’t be in the cards for me.”
He did run as the Libertarian Party presidential candidate in 1988.