Tulsi Gabbard, rising Democratic star from Hawaii, makes mark on party by defying it

Tulsi Gabbard, rising Democratic star from Hawaii, makes mark on party by defying it

Between the chilly temperatures and the pace of the push-ups, there was plenty to complain about after eight lawmakers straggled into the park behind the Longworth House Office Building for their regular 6:30 a.m. workout.

While the others in the group griped and groaned on a recent Tuesday, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, 34, her Hindu prayer beads wrapped around a wrist for her daily yoga meditation, said little.

“Tulsi, you hearing a lot of whining?” asked RepresentativeMarkwayne Mullin, a burly Oklahoma Republican and former professional mixed martial arts fighter who leads the workouts, mocking the complaints of her companions.

“I’m feeling like whining,” she replied between push-ups.

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Ms. Gabbard, Democrat of Hawaii, has a reputation among her colleagues for being a composed, contemplative presence in a chamber more prone to reaction than reflection. But lately she has started to shed that persona. Since the deadly attacks in Paris, she has become a high-profile critic of President Obama’s policies in Syria by amplifying her argument that President Bashar al-Assad should stay in power to avoid elevating the Islamic State and by introducing legislation to defund American efforts to overthrow him.

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