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Rand Paul criticizes Obama, others over spying

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BERKELEY, Calif. — Senator Rand Paul’s criticisms of President Barack Obama and other government leaders over recent surveillance disclosures were warmly received on Wednesday at the University of California, Berkeley.

Paul, a Republican who is considering a presidential bid and is seen as one of several GOP front-runners ahead of 2016, held forth for 30 minutes on what he perceives to be abuses of government spy programs and a lack of oversight of the National Security Agency.

‘‘I find it ironic that the first African-American president has without compunction allowed this vast exercise of raw power by the NSA,’’ said Paul, noting that other black heroes such as Martin Luther King Jr. were targets of illegal government spying.

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