July 12th, 2014
02:04 PM ET
2 weeks ago

Perry: Paul 'isolationist policies' are 'curiously blind,' 'wrong'

(CNN) – "Curiously blind" and "wrong."

Is Rick Perry previewing harsh political attacks against Rand Paul should the two potential 2016 presidential candidates square off in a debate over foreign policy?

The Republican governor of Texas used those and other choice words against the Kentucky Republican senator in a Friday opinion piece that singularly trained political fire on Paul, by name, among Republicans.

Firing back, an adviser for Paul said Perry is "mischaracterizing Senator Paul's foreign policy."

At issue: Paul's ideological preference for the United States to avoid engaging in many hotspots across the world. Critics, such as Perry, liken it to outright isolationism.

"As a veteran, and as a governor who has supported Texas National Guard deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, I can understand the emotions behind isolationism. Many people are tired of war, and the urge to pull back is a natural, human reaction," Perry began his piece in the Washington Post. "Unfortunately, we live in a world where isolationist policies would only endanger our national security even further."

"That's why it's disheartening to hear fellow Republicans, such as Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), suggest that our nation should ignore what's happening in Iraq."

A few weeks ago, during an interview with CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, Paul said: "I'm not willing to send my son into that mess."

"Let's not be involved in the Iraq civil war," Paul said, referring to weeks of violence across that country. Radical Sunni militants have battled Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shiite government forces. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has not only gained ground in northern and western Iraq but also in Syria.

Perry took Paul's sentiments to task.

Noting "the main problem with this argument is that it means ignoring the profound threat that the group now calling itself the Islamic State poses to the United States and the world," the governor wrote. ". …This represents a real threat to our national security — to which Paul seems curiously blind — because any of these passport carriers can simply buy a plane ticket and show up in the United States without even a visa."

Perry then picked apart an opinion piece Paul recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal arguing against U.S. military intervention in Iraq.

Writing that Paul went "so far as to claim…that President Ronald Reagan's own doctrines would lead him to same conclusion," Perry said, "his analysis is wrong. Paul conveniently omitted Reagan's long internationalist record of leading the world with moral and strategic clarity."

And in perhaps one of his harshest critiques, Perry lumped Paul together with a favored political enemy of conservatives: President Barack Obama.

"Viewed together, Obama's policies have certainly led us to this dangerous point in Iraq and Syria, but Paul's brand of isolationism (or whatever term he prefers) would compound the threat of terrorism even further," Perry said.

Paul's team shot back at Perry's harsh criticism with stinging words of its own.

"60,000 children just invaded Texas, and their Governor has time to write an op ed in a Washington newspaper mischaracterizing Senator Paul's foreign policy,"  adviser Doug Stafford said in a statement to CNN, referring to the flood of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala surging into the United States along the southern border.  "Perhaps he should concentrate on the invasion of his Southern border."

Perry and Paul each are considering a 2016 presidential run. It would be Perry's second run.

CNN's Jason Sehrer and Peter Hamby contributed to this report.​


Filed under: 2016 • Foreign Policy • Rand Paul • Rick Perry
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Brian Smith

    Anyone who thinks it was not a mistake to get involved in Iraq and Afghanistan shouldn't be in a position of power to make those decisions again in the future.

    July 13, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  2. Bubba

    The World's Policeman. Seems a little out of touch. Cleaning up his own backyard would certainly apply here.

    July 13, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. HenryMiller

    The "curiously blind"are those who think we can run around playing World Cop and keep from being hated for it.

    July 13, 2014 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. Jerry Okamura

    I am a lifelong republican who has supported every war this country has been involved in, but no longer. I will support going to war, "if" I believed that the "enemy" wants to take over control of this countries government. I would most likely support a war, "if" the Senate of the United States issue a formal Declaration or War. I will most likely not support the war, if the Senate of the United States is only willing to issue a resolution to authorize the use of force. I definitely will not support using military action, if the President goes it alone, without the consent of the Senate.

    July 13, 2014 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. Pablo695

    I'd pick Paul over Perry on any day of the week, and twice on Sunday. Perry is a joke.

    Here's a dream GOP ticket – Perry and Palin. Their campaign slogan – "Between the two of us we can fill a thimble – maybe"...

    July 13, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. GODZILLA1

    Those glasses aren't making Perry smarter – just the opposite.

    July 13, 2014 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. partisanhackshatefacts

    Rand Paul is against wars for oil
    Rand Paul doesn't like abortion, but believes it's not his or the governments business
    Rand Paul doesn't like gay marriage but believes its not his or the governments business

    Rick Perry?...just the opposite

    Rand Paul should be a democrats best friend....:sigh: but alas, the powers that be in The Establishment will pull any dirty trick to fool the left/far left, to keep good men like Rand or Gary Johnson out of the picture

    Its time to drain the swamp

    July 13, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. g

    rick lets waste another trillion or two and create more enemies for western oil companies just follow the afghan ,Iraq war money and see who,s pockets it goes into .bet its rick friends

    July 13, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. Rightster

    Perry oddly continues to be a defender of apartheid Israel and wants to solve all the world's problems with weapons.

    July 13, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. ed

    Yeah another Texas governor spewing knowledge of foreign policy. We've already had one drag us into a mess that will cost the taxpayer – in the case of people like Perry, the poor and elderly – trillions of dollars.
    Rand Paul is right. If the far right hawks want to spout keeping America involved in every world issue they can begin the conversation by detailing how they intend to PAY for them.

    July 13, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. Honeybadger

    "Paul's ideological preference for the United States to avoid engaging in many hotspots across the world. Critics, such as Perry, liken it to outright isolationism." <-Sounds like Paul is our best bet. We need a president that finally stops feeding the military industrial complex. Spending a quarter of our budget on defense while only spending 3% on education is outrageous.

    July 13, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. Jeff

    What do Islamic terrorists, or anyone else for that matter, have against America? Do they hate our freedom? Not really, do they dislike the way we portray them in Hollywood films? Maybe. Do they hate how we meddle in other people's affairs and overstep our boundaries ALL THE TIME? ........yes.

    July 13, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. gwtheyrn

    Never thought I would ever agree with any word out of Rick Perry's mouth, but he's right. Rand Paul would have the US cede the world stage to a Russia-China axis and the oceans to piracy.

    July 13, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    Yes, Trooth, we are interfering in every other country around the world. Please name how we are interfering in the internal politics of, say, Cambodia, or Paraguay, or Belgium, since you stated this claim in such a forthright manner. Your statement speaks to the simple-minded attitude of someone who's " trooth" is never contradicted by the inconvenient nature of " facts". Not displaying an interest in foreign affairs has never worked out well, especially in light of Libertarians hatred of trade barriers. Economic interests will pull us into the rest of the world, so, unless you expect us to become like North Korea, be prepared to be involved, whether you like it or not.

    July 13, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. LeRoy_Was_Here

    Really, when you get down to it, Rick Perry and Rand Paul are both pretty stupid. I say we put them both in a round room and tell them to go sit in the corner.

    July 13, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. Tony Torres

    Perry believes the crap he spews. Look at Texas record while he has been the leader, unemployment,health coverage, lack of safety concerns (outright war against anything Obama) for his citizens… except the rich! He is third in line for moron points in the GOP crazies. Perry want Texas to succeed but he still wants all the perks the Feds give every year. Biggest hypocrite of them all. I hope he runs so more of the country can see how big of an idiot Texans have as their leader.

    July 13, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. Name

    Perry is using a hot-button word like "isolationist" to paint Paul with a broad brush, obviously. Please tell us then, why deciding against engagement in these no-win hotspots around the world (and there are many, and growing rapidly) will affect our National security here in the U.S.?
    Detailed explanation if you please Mr Perry, I'll wait...

    July 13, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. Jeltez42

    Such wisdom from one of the dimmest bulbs to have graduated from Texas A&M. At least Ricky Bobby did have his rump in an airplane and was at least overseas in said aircraft., unlike another dim bulb Texas governor who dodged Vietnam totally.

    Rand and his dad Ron have been isolationists of sorts for hmm, ever. Makes sense, we don't need to colonize the world. A trillion or two of our national debt would never had happened if we would have never started the Wars of Choice and Occupation. But as the true cheerleader Ricky Bobby is, he knows if we just go back and keep trying we can have global world peace, end poverty and hunger, and have unicorns and ponies for every little princess that wants one. All we need to do is let everyone come to this country, no laws, no rules. And when it comes to taking care of US citizens and our vets, well, it is more important to ensure foreigners have the best of everything and first dibs on free school.

    Thanks Ricky Bobby, you and your other clown car comrades are making Rand Paul look sane and almost moderate.

    July 13, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  19. GOP = Greed Over People

    Now I get the glasses, Perry is striving to be the "white Urkel"!

    They certainly are no proof his IQ has risen higher than room temperature.

    And from the comments on the board, no one is buying this "new" perception he is somehow smarter(with the excretion of Texas voters)!

    July 13, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  20. Ancient Texan

    Ted- Perry is correct. Obama presented an engraved invitation to the Central Americans, to "come on up", with his EO "Dream Act". Perry has done a good job of trying to secure the border since Obama REFUSES to do it

    July 13, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. Gary

    I love it when these idiots fight between themselves to see who is crazier.

    July 13, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. Hugo

    GOP = Greed over people...
    You want to knock Perry while your Messiah has run up 17 Trillion in debt, failed miserably with his foreign policy, is mired up to his jug ears in the IRS scandal (Oh yeah it is real and coming), is mired in his Benghazi lies, is mired in his failed ACA act, all while playing his 24th game of golf this year in the 28th week of the year? You want to evaluate IQ's? You may want to start with your own!

    July 13, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  23. Andrew

    So Perry is critical of isolationist policies, but thinks the US needs to turn a blind eye to the humanitarian crisis at the border. No consistency there.

    July 13, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  24. Thomas

    Rick Perry , THE TIME IS NOW !

    Perry / Bush 2016

    July 13, 2014 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
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