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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

French Attacks Shift Presidential Campaign Focus To National Security

Both the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates made response to last Friday’s French attack Monday. Most presidential candidates, including Ben Carson, called for prayers and thoughts to be with Parisians in the aftermath of the attacks. 

Both the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates responded Monday to the attacks in Paris last Friday. Most presidential candidates, including Ben Carson, called for prayers and thoughts to be with Parisians in the aftermath of the attacks. 

Hillary Clinton commented at the beginning of the second democratic debate. She said, “This election is not only about electing a president. It’s also about choosing our next commander-in-chief, and I will be laying out, in detail, what I think we need to do with our friends and allies in Europe and elsewhere to do a better job of coordinating efforts against the scourge of terrorism.” Jeb Bush tweeted, “We should have no empathy for radical Islamic terrorists. We should destroy them, plain and simple.”

USC political science professor Bob Shrum believes the attack shifted the focus of the presidential campaign.   

He said, “I think the terrorist attacks could considerably have a very real impact, especially in the Republican primaries.” He said the events of Paris would make people take a step and make sure they pick someone who can be the commander. He said the voters expect to hear the candidates’ strategies both on the acceptance of Syria refugees and against terrorism. 

Click here for an extended interview with Bob Shrum.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate, will outline a national security strategy that involves rebuilding the U.S. military, “reinvigorating” diplomatic alliances and renewing a commitment to “fundamental Western values” in a speech at the National Press Club on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

The attack is also changing some governors’ attitude towards Syrian refugees. 

According to the French prosecutor, one of the attackers was found with a Syrian passport. 

Thirteen governors on Monday made statements that they will not accept more Syrian refugees in their states as a response to the French terrorists attacks. Most of their concern is that resettlement of the refugees would bring doors to terrorists. "Michigan is a welcoming state and we are proud of our rich history of immigration," Snyder said in the statement. "But our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents."

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