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Ros-Lehtinen enlivens Cuba hearing with a dustup with a retired military general

Today's House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing was a highly-charged event -- but the real sparks flew when Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tussled with retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey.

McCaffrey raised the Miami Republican's hackles with his testimony that Cuba represents no risk to national security and the travel ban should be scrapped since it hurts longtime U.S. interests.

But during questioning, he took exception to Ros-Lehtinen, whom he said appeared to question his national security credentials and called him "Mr. McCaffrey,'' rather than "General.''

"To refute the argument that I had offered to the committee, she seemed to be implying my lack of commitment to U.S. national security, which is a silly thing for her to do,'' McCaffrey told reporters after the hearing. "She stated a very carefully chosen way to denigrate my military credentials, which she is not authorized to do.''

Ros-Lehtinen -- who often notes she has family members in the service -- said she disagreed with McCaffrey's stance on Cuba, but "did not mean in any way to not respect his service by calling him Mr. and not General.''

She said she had written down the questions she wanted to pose to McCaffrey and that "General'' appears in her handwritten notes.

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