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. V

    Wow – never thought I would agree with Rand Paul, but he makes sense on this one.

    October 10, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. CanadaONE

    Romney a dangerous man – marking the end of the USA

    October 10, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. The REAL Truth...

    Good for Sen Rand. Someone from the GOP needs to rein in the Twit and call him out on lack of everything. He's a complete embarrassment to the US overseas. They're snickering every time his name comes up.

    October 10, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  4. Florida Joe

    Don't worry Rand......Tomorrows position will be different................Romney is a WAR monger..........You should really choose whom you support with a little more thought..................Romney will SAY ANYTHING doesn't matter what he said the day before...........Disgusting

    October 10, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I don't like Rand Paul due his statement he made regarding Civil Rights when he campaigned for Senator of Kentucky, however, I do agree with him on this one. Whether you're Democrat/Republican/Teabagger and it doesn't make any difference whether it's an election year, policies made by either Obama or Romney can be very dangerous and affect the lives of all Americans. We cannot stay on the same path of defense spending and wars.

    October 10, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  6. judy

    Paul makes sense and even he knows romney is a nut job. Mittens will say what ever it takes to get elected and for some reasons repos don't seem to care. Is ousting president Obama so improtant that the rest of the country will suffer because of mittens policies,? I guess so. Sorry political party .Vote all repos out.

    October 10, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. HOLY TIGHTY WHITIES WILLARD

    "If debt is our gravest threat, adding to the debt by expanding military spending further threatens our national security,"
    -------------------------------------------------
    It's very rare that I agree with Rand Paul on ANYTHING, but he is absolutely right in this statement. When we're WASTING $3 billion on tanks(General Dynamics) that the Army says they do not need, it just goes to show you how these politicians, democrats and republicans alike are in the pockets of these defense contractors. This Military Industrial Complex will be expanded way more than it needs to be under Willard Robmey. Not to mention he'll take us to war no matter what the consequences.

    October 10, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  8. ExRepublican

    Romney is awful with foreign policy he is not ready to be president.

    October 10, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. MT Yorkie

    With all due respect, Senator, what the hell did you expect?m Romney has been very clear all along about his warmongering views. He's not going to change his mind or cushy contacts because you turned coat and supported him, you aren't worth enough money and power.

    October 10, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  10. LegalizeReason

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

    I cannot believe that I am find myself agreeing with Rand Paul on this one.

    October 10, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  11. munkeeman

    Good Luck, Rand. Seems the only jobs that Mitt is interested in creating is when Mitt starts drafting soldiers to fight the wars Mitt he wants to start.

    October 10, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  12. John

    Rand Paul is thankfully the future of the Republican Party. Rand Paul 2016!

    October 10, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  13. sonny chapman

    As an American first & a Dem. second, THANK YOU Sen. Paul. Looks like some of your Dad's Anti-Colonialism has rubbed off on you. At least you're not afraid to take on the Chicken Hawk, Draft Dodging Neo-Cons of your Party.

    October 10, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. ST

    Good for you Rand Paul that you have the courage to speak out how you see things going on. Rand, you are not like the media which I ask myself what are there for. While watching "Morning Joe" this morning, I asked myself are these people serious on what they are doing or they are there to fill up their pocket.
    They have forgotten already what was all about the GOP primaries, conventions and all campaign stumps. They are now focusing on debates as if what has be done was just wasting of time. They do not point between the truth and the lies, they don't help people understand what the candidates stand for then and now, and why a candidate should do it so now if not hunting for votes and reach where he wants to be. What is difficult with them to point out that Romney is not a leader driven by conviction and commitment BUT he seemed to do whatever it takes to reach there. It is so absurd and sad that we come to remember devoted journalists who are no longer with us, and who could now do the better job, but they are no longer with us. We really miss them!

    October 10, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  15. lyn

    Romney don't know anything about foreign policy, it is all about talking and no action, his thinking is he won 1 debate so now he can be President. ROMNEY I want to remind you that the 47% of us who you class as VICTIMS, hiding the truth about your TAXES, and the worst of all is your OVERSEAS BANK ACCOUNTS, for a man who want to be President putting your MONEY OVERSEAS is not supporting the American people. SO WE MOVE FORWARD WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA HE CARES.

    October 10, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is nice to hear that not all Republicans wish to run head long into a war. Granted, this guy is really a Libertarian and should switch parties. I don't agree with a lot of what either Paul says because they are a "fend for yourself" kind of attitude which doesn't move the country forward.

    October 10, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. Lionel

    A rare and smart Republican. Now there is honesty. Romney has lied and changed positions that I am getting dizzy.

    Way to go for calling out Romney on his policies. We need more of this...

    October 10, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  18. Larry L

    Romney's "chicken-hawk" position is more about defense contracts and less about defense. Nothing could be better for the top 1% than directing their corporations towards construction of the enormously expensive aircraft carriers or nuclear submarines. This draft-dodger was lounging on French beaches while Americans were fighting in Vietnam – spending "daddy's money" and living large. Now he's a "hawk" but you be certain his boys won't join the fight. That sort of work is for the 47% he considers useless.

    October 10, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  19. fernace

    Right on Rand Paul! This is what President Obama has been trying to accomplish, to much critizism from the right! We have improved our standing in the world due to Obama's diplomacy! Romney, however, seems to be spoiling for war, trippling the defense budget & looking for enemies under every bush! His 5 step plan wont work for the reasons laid out by Paul in this article & by Obama in the debates! He claims that he'll be able to lower taxes, lower the debt & increase defense budget, but wont say how he'll pull off such a feat! I think we know how, by cutting a lot of necessary programs he deems un-necessary! Starting w/PBS! Is that the kind of policies we want? I'm hearing Americans saying, loud & clear, no more wars, keep resources & effort at home to rebuild the country & stop "policing" the world! Wonder why Romney can't hear us! I think he doesn't want to! Obama, Forward to Peace & Prosperity!!

    October 10, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  20. Toronto

    Well said Senator Rand! ALSO! If America tones it down a little, they will have less enemies.

    October 10, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  21. gt

    no more americans need to die for people who hate us...rands right..

    October 10, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  22. GOP is Dead

    Another war at this time would require reinstatement of the military draft. Bush's wars have burned us out. Would Romney's sons copy their daddy' draft-dodging technique? Rather than face the draft would they run off to complete their "mission" in some luxury tourist location?

    October 10, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  23. Toronto

    My apologies ....well said Senator Rand Paul!

    October 10, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  24. Name

    For once I agree

    October 10, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  25. rs

    Who would ever think that Senator Rand Paul would be the sensible sounding one when paired with Mr. Romney? Things are mighty wiggy down GOP way.

    October 10, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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