US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard to run for president

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard delivers remarks on the second day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center

Some foreign policy commentators accused Gabbard of legitimizing Assad, who has been accused of war crimes against civilians, but she defended the meeting as an opportunity to discuss bringing an end to Syria's seven-year civil war.

"When we stand together, united by our love for each other and for our country, there is no challenge we can not overcome", Rep. Gabbard tweeted on Friday afternoon.

"I have chose to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week", Gabbard told a CNN TV news anchor for a show that airs Saturday.

"I'm concerned about the direction of the country", Gabbard told host Chris Matthews.

Why she's running: Gabbard didn't go into extreme detail about her decision, saying she would explain more when she makes a formal announcement.

"While I oppose the nomination of Brian Buescher to the US District Court in Nebraska, I stand strongly against those who are fomenting religious bigotry, citing as disqualifiers Buescher's Catholicism and his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus", Gabbard wrote in a newspaper op-ed.

"The issue of war and peace" would be the main focus of her campaign, Rep. Gabbard said. "I look forward to being able to get into this and to talk about it in depth when we make our announcement". "When we stand together, united by our love for each other and for our country, there is no challenge we can not overcome".

"Assad's favorite Democrat is Running for President", read a headline in a far-right publication, while another critic characterized her as a "next-level politician", saying "Any amateur can be a traditional USA racist politician, but it takes skill to succeed in America as a Hindu-nationalist racist/tankie Assad apologist".

"We're proud to see a candidate from Hawai'i poised to enter the Presidential race and add to the discourse on the important issues facing our country", Lopez said.

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Gabbard joins an increasingly crowded field of Democrats vying to be president.

Gabbard has close links with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Big Island Video News will have a deeper analysis, with video, of Rep. Gabbard's political positioning in recent years, which has served to establish her as a maverick among Democrats.

"There is one main issue that is central to the rest, and that is the issue of war and peace", said Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran and now serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Ms Gabbard was one of the most prominent lawmakers to back Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.

She listed access to health care, criminal justice reform and climate change as key issues. Bernie Sanders in his unsuccessful effort to challenger Clinton from the left.

But Republicans, too, felt the need to speak up against her. "Liberals think she's too conservative, conservatives think she's too liberal, and just about everyone thinks her coziness with Bashar al-Assad is disturbing", Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens said, also mentioning the congresswoman's "lack of experience".

Gabbard was deployed to Iraq in 2005, and she maintains her role as a member of the Hawaii National Guard.

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