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Klobuchar, Ellison talk Syria and Boston on ‘Meet the Press’

WASHINGTON — The pair appeared on “Meet the Press” Sunday; Ellison sparred with Rep. Peter King.

WASHINGTON — It was a Minnesota twofer on Sunday’s “Meet the Press”: Sen. Amy Klobuchar talked Syria, immigration reform and President George W. Bush’s legacy and Rep. Keith Ellison sparred with occasional rival Rep. Peter King (R-NY) over terror investigations after the Boston bombings.

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Ellison’s appearance with King was billed as a debate between the two, though it was less dramatic than the ones they’ve waged in the past. The pair talked about the FBI’s handling of an early investigation into the Boston bombing suspects, and the degree to which Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s religion should have been a topic of inquiry.

Their arguments: King suggested the FBI could have done a more thorough investigation into the suspect’s potentially radicalized Muslim background, while Ellison said the bureau needs to be careful not to profile Muslims while conducting terror investigations.

“This is an American problem,” he said. “There have been threats throughout this country from various sources. But Muslims and people across this nation need to think about public safety and threats and radicalism, not just one community.”

Here’s part of their exchange:

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Klobuchar, meanwhile, was asked about a hodgepodge of topics, like President Obama’s speech at Saturday’s White House Correspondents Dinner and his work reaching out to members of Congress, as well as how history will remember President Bush.

Klobuchar also addressed how to best move forward in Syria, after the Obama administration said last week that there is preliminary evidence the Bashir al-Assad regime has used chemical weapons.

“We need to up our game,” she said. “We need to up our game with where the aid goes. We’ve learned that too much of it is going to Assad-controlled regions. We have to make sure that we’re starting to do more with night goggles, armor, all kinds of things.”

Part of her appearance, as a member of a political panel, is here:

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(Note: NBC trims its “Meet the Press” segments in odd ways sometimes. Here’s a link to the rest of the show.)

Devin Henry can be reached at