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Marco Rubio clarifies comments on Paris attacks

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, clarified comments Monday that the terrorist attacks by ISIS in Paris were a "positive development" for U.S. national security awareness.

He had appeared on Fox News Sunday and argued that the terrorist attacks in Paris had the added benefit of raising a flag in the U.S. about our own vulnerabilities and security.

"I obviously am not happy about the events that happened last week in Paris, but I think it's a positive development that it suddenly has forced Americans to confront more carefully the issue of national security."

In Council Bluffs, Iowa, Monday, CBS News asked Rubio about the remark, and he quickly clarified the prior statement. "I don't think it was a positive development, I think it was a terrible tragedy," Rubio said.

He was also asked whether a terrorist attack similar to the one that took place in Paris was the only means of generating awareness about the issue. Rubio continued to deny his earlier comments and attempted to pivot to the idea that it had sharpened his own campaign's focus.

"I didn't say that -- I said that obviously, no one's happy that there was a terrorist attack, but it has refocused our campaign on what I think should be the number one issue in any federal campaign -- especially for the presidency -- and that is our national security," Rubio said.

He then went on to call the Paris attacks an important turning point in the campaign. "The fact that it's acted as a catalyst towards focusing on national security is an important development in this campaign, but no terrorist attack is a positive development." And he added one more time, " That's not what I said."

Speaking at a town hall earlier in Carroll, Iowa, Rubio talked about how to effectively win the propaganda war against ISIS by using American special operators to carry out "high-profile attacks on leadership nodes" and filming the raids to "put it up on YouTube, so that the world can see these people are not invincible."

He reasoned that the U.S. could show "how easily humiliated they are by Americans" and make potential ISIS recruits think twice about joining their ranks.

"I want the world to see how these ISIS leaders cry like babies when they're captured," Rubio said. "I want the world to see how these ISIS leaders, once captured, begin to sing like canaries if they survive."

Rubio also took the opportunity to hit President Obama over his ISIS strategy, dismissing it as "symbolic."

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