Washington (CNN) - GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul held his ground Wednesday against views that he is anti-Israel as he sought to explain his exclusion from a major gathering of conservative Jewish advocates his fellow GOP hopefuls addressed.
Paul was asked in a CNN interview to respond to remarks he made during last month's CNN Republican National Security Debate where he raised concerns about a continued U.S. military presence in Israel, saying, "Why do we have this automatic commitment that we're going to send our kids and our money endlessly to Israel? I think they are quite capable of taking care of themselves."
On Wednesday, he told CNN's Brooke Baldwin, "What you need to do is go and read the speech (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu gave on the house floor here a couple nights ago. He said, 'We don't need American troops. We can take care of ourselves.' That might be worth looking into it."
"We're involved in too many wars and we should be careful on how we go to wars. But if Netanyahu says we don't need our troops over there, why shouldn't I as well?" Paul said on CNN's "Newsroom."
The Texas representative and three-time GOP presidential hopeful was not invited to the Wednesday forum hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition, which labeled his views "misguided and extreme."
Paul explained his foreign policy views Wednesday, lamenting an over-extension of U.S. resources abroad.
"I think America is in a box," Paul said. "We spend too much money policing the world, getting involved in nation building, we're going bankrupt, we have to borrow the money we're spending overseas. We are in a financial crisis."
According to the CNN/Time/ORC International Polls released Wednesday, Paul came in third behind former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 17% support of likely GOP caucus participants in Iowa, the first voting contest in the GOP presidential primary.
Paul called Gingrich's newfound pre-eminence in the GOP field "the flavor of the week" and described his campaign's rise as much more credible.
"Ours is steady," he said. "People don't come and go once they support our campaign."
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