(CNN) - It appears longtime Republican Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana is ready for a fight.
On Friday night, hours before a major meeting of Tea Party and other conservative leaders from around the state to try and limit the number of candidates who may challenge Lugar, the six term senator who's up for re-election next year is holding his first big fundraiser in Indiana this cycle.
Washington (CNN) - Hoping to head off a primary challenge from the right, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, sat down with Tea Party leaders last month but did little to persuade them of his conservative credentials.
The two-hour meeting, which took place over breakfast on Dec. 13th at a Marriott hotel in downtown Indianapolis, was described by participants on both sides as "cordial," but the Tea Party activists left vowing to oppose Lugar's bid for a seventh term.
Washington (CNN) - The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee laid out his plan Sunday for the lame-duck session of Congress, which includes the passage of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty).
In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar said he thinks there are enough votes for the treaty - a nuclear arms agreement between Russia and the United States - to pass through the Senate.
Washington (CNN) - For some lawmakers up for re-election next time around, it seems 2012 isn't all that far away.
One example is six-term Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, who announced earlier this week that he will run for re-election in 2012. His campaign Wednesday put out a poll, which it paid for, that indicates that Lugar has the highest favorable rating of any major politician in the state.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/20/art.lugariso0620.cnn.jpg caption="'We've never got to that point,' Sen. Lugar told CNN when asked how he'd know what success in Afghanistan looked like."]
Washington (CNN) – The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee says that, even after more than nine years of war, there is no clear definition of success in the U.S. military’s operation in Afghanistan.
“If you had to say on this day I will know that the U.S. has succeeded and we can begin bringing troops home, what would that day look like?,” CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley asked Lugar in an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“Well, your question implies that we've defined success and we've never got to that point,” Lugar replied. “That's a part of our problem, that we're going to have to, as a government, whether it be the president or the Congress, define success in a way in which the American people find this to be satisfying. Otherwise, we'll continue to argue about the date of withdrawal or how fast or how - whether we surge more or less - without ever having defined exactly what it is we hope from Afghanistan.”
Related: Failure isn't an option, Dem says
In the same interview, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee proposed the kind of definition that Lugar said was lacking. Asked about the Obama administration’s July 2011 benchmark for beginning to draw down U.S. troops, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said the situation has to allow the Afghanistan government and people to build their country.
“Failure is not an option,” Feinstein said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Related: Success must be defined, Lugar says
Feinstein agreed that the training of the Afghan army continues to face significant challenges, but she said the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater is too strategically important to U.S interests not to continue the U.S. military operation.
“Also, there's one, I think, irreversible truth - the Taliban is on a march,” Feinstein also told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “If you lose Afghanistan, Pakistan is the next step.”
She added, “So the question becomes, either the Taliban becomes a force for good, participates in government - we're not there yet - or it has to be defeated.”
Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who joined Feinstein during the interview, agreed that training Afghan security forces remains a challenge.
After more than 35 years, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, (pictured far left) and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, (pictured far right) are senior senators. A lot has changed - except for the friendship, which has proven stronger than their political differences.. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
Washington (CNN) - While many in Washington believe that bipartisanship is long gone, two seasoned senators say it's not - at least not yet.
The relationship between Sen. Richard Lugar, a conservative Republican from Indiana, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, a liberal Democrat from Vermont, was born in obscurity - two very junior senators at the far reaches of a committee room table.
Leahy recalled a story from a time when their voices were virtually muted in a committee meeting.
"Neither one of us could hear what they [committee leaders] were muttering. And I said, 'Well, wait a minute, could I ask what was in that amendment?' You could see the two look down like 'Who the heck are these two guys at the end?' [He] takes his gavel and said, 'We're adjourned.' "
After more than 35 years, Leahy and Lugar are senior senators. A lot has changed - except for the friendship, which has proven stronger than their political differences.
Washington (CNN) – Just days before President Obama is expected to announce his plan to send tens of thousands of additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Sunday that the Afghan government currently is not a reliable partner in the American effort to build up Afghan security forces.
After Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar mentioned an ambitious plan to train 134,000 Afghan security forces in a year, which is expected to be part of President Obama’s larger Afghan strategy rolled out to the nation Tuesday evening, CNN Chief National Correspondent John King asked Lugar whether the Afghan government is up to the task of meeting the demands the Obama administration is expected to place on Kabul.
“Do you trust the other side of the equation?,” King asked Lugar on State of the Union. Do we have a reliable partner in the Afghan government?’
“For the moment, we don't have a reliable partner,” Lugar bluntly replied. “If the training occurs, will the government really take hold? We don't know, frankly,” Lugar also said Sunday.
Democratic Sen. Jack Reed, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Sunday that concerns about the administration of Afghan President Hamid Karzai should not impede President Obama’s reported plan to send roughly 30,000 additional U.S. troops to the war torn country.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/29/art.lugariso1129.cnn.jpg caption="Sen. Lugar said Sunday that the Senate should spend the remainder of 2009 focused on the Afghanistan war and budgetary matters."]
Washington (CNN) – The Ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Sunday that the Senate should set aside the impending debate on the health care reform bill and, instead, use the remainder of the year to focus on the appropriate strategy for the Afghanistan war, funding the war, and passing the appropriations bill necessary to keep the federal government running.
“I would just make this suggestion,” Republican Sen. Richard Lugar said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “that in the three weeks of debate we still have ahead of us, we really ought to concentrate in the Congress on the war, on the overall strategy of our country and the cost of it. And we ought to be on the budget - passing appropriations bills in a proper way. . . . We may wish to discuss higher taxes to pay for [the war]. But we're not going to do that debating health care in the Senate for three weeks through all sorts of strategies and so forth.”
“The war is terribly important,” Lugar continued, “Jobs and our economy are terribly important. So this may be an audacious suggestion, but I would suggest we put aside the health care debate until next year, the same way we put cap and trade and climate change [aside] and talk now about the essentials: the war and money.”
Democratic Sen. Jack Reed, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, disagreed with Lugar.
“Absolutely not,” Reed replied when asked by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King whether the Senate put off debate on the health care reform bill until 2010.