Sen. Rand Paul counters Romney on foreign policy
October 10th, 2012
09:54 AM ET
2 years ago

Sen. Rand Paul counters Romney on foreign policy

(CNN) – A Republican senator and surrogate for Mitt Romney chided the GOP presidential nominee on Wednesday, saying he was "a bit dismayed" by Romney's foreign policy speech earlier in the week.

In an op-ed on CNN.com, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who endorsed Romney in June, took issue with key points of Romney's approach to international affairs.

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"Romney chose to criticize President Obama for seeking to cut a bloated Defense Department and for not being bellicose enough in the Middle East, two assertions with which I cannot agree," Paul wrote.

A tea party favorite and known for his libertarian views–many of which he shares with his father and former presidential candidate Ron Paul–Sen. Paul maintained he's not an isolationist, as he believes in engagement with the world through trade, commerce and diplomacy. He would not hesitate, he added, to send troops to war as a measure of self-defense.

"But we are in too many places, too often, and we don't seem to even know the reason - or where we will end up when we're done," he wrote. "This foreign policy has created more enemies than it has vanquished."

Paul pointed to Romney's speech Monday, in which the Republican candidate outlined his foreign policy visions for several countries in the Middle East. Regarding the ongoing unrest in Syria, he said would work with other countries to ensure that certain members of the opposition "obtain the arms they need to defeat" Bashar al-Assad's regime. He also proposed how he would urge and work with governments in the Middle East and North Africa to strengthen Democratic institutions.

Paul, however, wrote that such policy exemplifies how both parties "rush headlong into more places they don't understand." Instead, he wrote that the right response is "to step back and think of whether we really need to be involved in these countries in the way we have been."

The Kentucky senator, elected in 2010, also hit back at Romney's call for a stronger military, saying the growth of defense and war spending has grown at a rate that is unsustainable.

"If debt is our gravest threat, adding to the debt by expanding military spending further threatens our national security," he said.

Paul campaigned for Romney as recently as late September, when he appeared in Ohio with the GOP nominee, his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, and Sen. Rob Portman. In his op-ed, he said that he would continue to stump for Romney this week.

Romney isn't the only target of Paul's frustration this week. The freshman senator made headlines when he took out television ads against two Democratic senators running for re-election, Bill Nelson of Florida and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Paul spent six figures in both states railing against the lawmakers for voting to send foreign aid to Libya, Egypt and Pakistan.


Filed under: 2012 • Foreign Policy • Mitt Romney • Rand Paul
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    The ads you referenced were created and aired by a PAC, which legally requires Senator Paul to be uninvolved with the creation and dissemination thereof. Five minutes of research would have uncovered this fact, but hey, this is just entrainment news after all, right?

    October 10, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. logi_101

    The future of a Romany presidency depends heavily on the patriotism of democrats as Romney has always said. Republicans cannot be coutned on putting our country, our economy, our values or even common sense. They will do to Romney what they have done to Obama, treason, a war on women and will sell government to the one percent at 2 cents on the dollar.

    October 10, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. petemg

    It sounds as if Rand wants his father to get the presidential position. Fine but first we must get rid of Obama. Quit criticizing and unite with Mr. Romney. Rand's father will have another chance, Lord willing.

    October 10, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  4. NOTADEMOCRAT

    Protecting America is the number one job of the government, cut the rest..

    October 10, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. Bruce

    Rand Paul is just like his father. He would rather the U.S. be isolationists in the international community. I don't buy it for a minute what this article says about him. he would abolish the military if he had his way of doing it. He is a joke. So anything this man says means absolutely nothing when it comes to international affairs. He's as crazy as his daddy is.

    October 10, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. demwit

    Another anti-Romney article.., great job CNN!!

    October 10, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Thomas

    Senator Rand Paul! , if you disagree with Mitt Romney's foreign policy , you would surly disagree with his economic policy .

    They are the same .

    October 10, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  8. Woman In California

    Personally, I don't trust ANY TP extremist or republican on anything regarding helping the American people. These are some of the same manipulators who bought this country down in the pits, with two unpaid wars and thousands of men and women in cold graves "looking" for WMD.

    Neither Paul or Willard would know foreign policy if it sat on a golden plate served as the main course. These people are dangerous and would only take this country back into another war or wars paid for by the middle class taxpayers and I am sick of it. We must not allow any of them to destroy the progress being made and must vote them all out to keep moving forward with PROVEN foreign policy by the Obama administration.

    Go VP Biden tomorrow night and expose the liar Ryan for what he is.

    October 10, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Rand has been listening to his father, entirely too much.

    October 10, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. California Gary

    When the likes of Rand Paul is making more sense than your nominee for president, it spells trouble for the party. As Mitt flips and flops his way to a more moderate position on various things, expect more sniping from the tea party folks. He sold his soul to them to make it through the primary process.......but now all bets are off. Loyalty is not a word in the Bain Capital playbook.

    October 10, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. Bill from GA

    Considering the liberalization of mitts made evident the last week, with his support of Federal Government mandates for Healthcare, no tax cuts for the wealthy, Federal Government Standards for Education, and more Obama-like ideas, I'm surprised more conservatives haven't been criticizing mitts' Etch A Sketch event.

    October 10, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
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