(CNN) – A day after a GOP presidential debate, White House hopeful Ron Paul upbraided rival candidate Michele Bachmann for disliking Muslims.
"She hates Muslims," Paul said on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on Friday. "She wants to go get 'em."
Paul failed to elaborate further. His remarks follow his heated exchange with Bachmann during Thursday night's debate when the two argued about Iran's nuclear development program.
Paul strongly disputed Bachmann's claim that Iran was "within just months" of developing a nuclear bomb and blasted U.S. sanctions against Iran as an "act of war."
A staunch non-interventionist, Paul urged the government to use diplomats to resolve the situation.
Bachmann, in response, ripped into Paul's position, describing it as one that seriously underestimates Iran's intentions.
"I think I have never heard a more dangerous answer for American security than the one that we just heard from Ron Paul," Bachmann said, receiving wide applause.
The International Atomic Energy Agency released a 14-page report on Nov. 8 concluding there were "credible" and "serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program."
Both candidates continued to argue about the issue, creating one of the most intense moments of the night.
Bachmann pointed to the Iranian constitution, saying the Islamic republic's "mission is to extend jihad across the world and eventually to set up a worldwide caliphate."
She added: "We would be fools and knaves to ignore their purpose and their plan."
Paul quickly fired back, saying he, too, didn't want to see Iran with a nuclear weapon. But he said that Bachmann was portraying a skewed view of the Muslim world.
"To declare war on 1.2 billion Muslims and say all Muslims are the same, this is dangerous talk," Paul said. "Yeah, there are some radicals, but they don't come here to kill us because we're free and prosperous."
Responding to Paul's answer on "The Tonight Show," Bachmann on Saturday said his statement was "outrageous."
"Of course I don't hate Muslims. That's an absolutely outrageous statement. What I love are Americans and the American people," she said at a campaign stop in Iowa.
She went on to claim that the "true hatred" was coming from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who in 2005 quoted a remark from Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of Iran's Islamic revolution, that Israel "must be wiped out from the map of the world."
"As Commander-in-Chief I will stand for the safety and security of the American people. I think, quite frankly, with all due respect to my colleague, that Ron Paul would make a very dangerous president because he doesn't understand this threat," she said.
Paul's answer about Bachmann on Leno's show Friday night came amid a lightning round of questions from the TV host, who asked Paul to comment on each of his presidential rivals.
The Texas congressman gave a similar answer when Leno mentioned former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a strong social conservative who frequently takes a strong conservative stance on gay rights.
Paul said Santorum doesn't like "gay people and Muslims."
And as for the current front-runners, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Paul gained laughs when he said the two candidates should go back to their old jobs.
– CNN's Chris Welch contributed to this report.
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My vote is for Paul in 2012 else I don't vote.
Push an angry cat in the corner and it will attack, leave it alone and it will calm down
Paul was booed at an earlier debate for citing Osama Bin Laden's stated reasons for the 9/11 attacks. The general atmosphere in the audience was that muslims have a general dislike for Americans. Bin Laden gave a reason that sounded strange or unrealistic most Americans, most especially to the war hawks. Bin Laden said that the US invaded muslim countries to take over governments and take the oil. And, then the Bush administration turned around and did exactly that in Iraq, close enough to lend credibility to Bin Laden's words. "See, I told you so." Paul's assessment of Bachmann is accurate, and it the same assessment can be applied to a lot of people in the right wing. Remember John McCain singing, "Bomb, bomb. bomb. Bomb, bomb, Iran."
I like Paul but....How does he know who hates who and how much? I am certain we all have some negative feelings towards different groups of people that aren't similar to us but does anyone have a measuring device???
Bachmann understands the power of fear in getting votes–it's the age-old practice of creating fear so that she can pretend to be the protector–then when nothing happens, she can claim to have protected us. Win-win for her. Lose-lose for us. When 9/11 first happened, I bought a t-shirt that says "we are not afraid" in several languages–I naively thought America was the home of the brave. How disappointing when I realized we would instead prefer to strip search 80-year-old women and let the government wire-tap anyone they want with no oversight.
For Bachmann to make such incendiary statements about Iran only proves to me that she has no business anywhere near the oval office. And I doubt that she will ever occupy that office. She is filled with hate for Muslims, gays and anyone who doesn't believe in her "God". The fact that she is running says a lot about the lack of quality of the GOP candidates. I have actually begun to admire and like Ron Paul.
Paul and Bachmann, a contrast in extremes. Paul advocates almost no-government, which would cut spending and reduce taxes alright but then leave a vacuum to be filled with exploitation by those with advantage and the majority, the country itself, would be exposed to almost a pre-civilization mentality – "let everything seek its own level". Bachmann, with her loud, aggressive and offensive, attention getting personality presents a "her way or no way' mentality that seeks to patronize a few and greatly neglects the majority – ready to do battle with everyone. Neither is really offering a responsible and conscientious approach.
Bigotry will not get you any votes
Iran is allowed by world treaty to build nuclear reactors for power. They are not allowed to build nuclear weapons. But USA Republicans are saying that since they have reactors it means they are building nuclear bombs.
It's just absurd.
IMO Mr. Paul would have more difficulty working with this do nothing congress than our current pres. has.
It's interesting how we're worried about Iran getting their hand on nukes when our government pals around with middle eastern countries, run by dictators who already have them.
The same whiners that complain how Bush was the antichrist and got us in all this trouble elected a guy who is basically continuing his policies.
Bush negotiated an exit to Iraq. Obama ended the war and brought the troops home. You missed your own point.
Our political figures on the Republican side will say just about anything to get elected! Its no wonder that Iran would likely bomb us if they got the chance. I am not sure any other country would intervene to help us! These people running for office are HORRIBLE greedy people that would say anything to get their chance at racking n the cash from the corporations!