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Liberal doves run as war hawks


"We need to get out of Iraq in a responsible way," Hagan declared in May of that year. "We need to elect leaders who don't invade countries without planning and stay there without an end."

Hagan is striking a different chord these days. Locked in a tough reelection battle, the first-term senator boasts that she's more strongly supportive of airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants than her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis, and says she's been pressing the Obama administration to arm Syrian rebels since early last year.

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"This is the time for us to come together, Democrats and Republicans, to confront the challenges that are facing our nation," she said this month.

A host of Democratic Senate hopefuls who rode anti-war sentiment into office in the past decade are running for reelection now as hawks, staking out hard-line positions on the latest upheaval in the Middle East. The candidates are quick to note the differences between then and now — a years-long military mission with boots on the ground versus the airstrikes President Barack Obama has launched in Iraq and Syria in the past month.

But it's also true that that no one wants to get tagged as soft on terror in a conservative-tilted election year that's seen foreign policy jump unexpectedly to the fore.

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