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Obama vs. Rubio on the Threat (or Lack Thereof) From Hugo Chavez

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It's silly season, sure, but this exchange between Barack Obama and Marco Rubio over the threat posed by Hugo Chavez is interesting. First to Obama:

"We're always concerned about Iran engaging in destabilizing activity around the globe. But overall my sense is that what Mr. Chávez has done over the last several years has not had a serious national security impact on us," Obama said. "We have to vigilant. My main concern when it comes to Venezuela is having the Venezuelan people have a voice in their affairs, and that you end up ultimately having fair and free elections, which we don't always see."

Senator Marco Rubio is far more concerned:

Hugo Chavez is not only a threat to the Venezuelan peopleâ??s freedom and democratic aspirations, he has also supported Iranâ??s regime in its attempts to expand its intelligence network throughout the hemisphere, facilitated money laundering activities that finance state sponsors of terrorism and provided a safe haven for FARC narco-terrorists, among many other actions.

Just yesterday, the Wall Street Journal detailed how Hugo Chavez circumvents U.S. and EU sanctions to help prop up the Assad regime in Syria. And even Obamaâ??s own State Department belatedly but rightly expelled Chavezâ??s consul general in Miami for her ties to a plan to wage cyber-attacks on the U.S.

If you're Hugo Chavez - whose rhetoric do you prefer? One that makes you out to be an impressive figure challenging a superpower, or the other that dismisses you as ineffectual?

(AP Photo)