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GOP splits over immigration and terrorism play out

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Party divisions over immigration, anti-terrorism and other issues are bubbling to the surface just as President Barack Obama shows a new interest in capitalizing on GOP differences.

The latest example played out Thursday on the Senate floor, where two Republican senators rebuked a third — tea party favorite Rand Paul of Kentucky — for his filibuster that challenged U.S. policies for using drones to kill suspected terrorists. Just a few days earlier, other high-profile Republicans had differed on immigration, and a House committee chairman renewed his call for spending cuts that would go much deeper than those now making headlines.

Every case featured past or possibly future presidential candidates. It was a fresh reminder that the party has no clear leader, and no clear road map, after Mitt Romney's November loss to Obama.

The quarrels also underscore the Republican establishment's uneasy relationship with the tea party. That grass-roots movement, born in 2009, pumped new passion into the GOP, but it also fueled unwise Senate nominations that saved several endangered Democrats.

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