July 12th, 2014
02:04 PM ET
5 years 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. jon wilson

    Perry would be like Bush lite but dumber and more trigger happy.

    July 12, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. Todd

    Notice how all Perry did was criticize Paul's view on the situation in Iraq. All those words and Perry didn't give any suggestions as to what should be done. That's the problems with republicans. Lots of complaining and no alternatives

    July 12, 2014 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. timothy

    Perry screwed up miserably in his first bid thinking attacking others would do it. He was ill prepared and was of little substance. Entering this fray by attacking others again tells me he probably learned little. Unless he learn to have some substance, I will think of him as I do Nader. Running for some reason but not to win. Beyond that, this tells me Perry believes Paul to be the one to beat.

    July 12, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. really

    I could care less what Perry or Paul thinks, likes or hates... at the end of the day they are both zeros for me, I want another 8 years of Obama! then these Zeros would have figured out we don't care about them or their petty parties.

    July 12, 2014 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. peterz

    Like Paulin, today Perry looked more like a political cartoon than a politician.

    July 12, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. Joe Mahma

    Right, it's "isolationism" when it's a policy of just not getting involved in nation building. Uh huh. And I suppose every country in Europe is "isolationist" also?

    July 12, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. Focuspuller

    As if Perry wrote that op-ed. Oh and Rick, the glasses actually make you look dumber.

    July 12, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. atheismisfree

    And the 3 branches of US government are ......................................... wait hold on I KNOW THIS !!!!

    July 12, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. JSintheStates

    Governor Perry doesn't represent anything that I hold to be secular, ethical, or American for that matter! He does have my vote for Prime Minister of the great Republic of Texas, and if someone wants to start an amendment to secede Texas from the Union, I'll vote for that as well!

    July 12, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. RollyBobo

    Perry isn't a smart guy, so, someone told him to attack Rand Paul and he did.

    Boring.

    It's not isolationism. But most people know that. It's not a world where you have the choice to run it as the world's policemen or you are isolationist.

    Look at China, they aren't the world's policemen, but they are involved economically in almost every country.

    We should be better than that, than the Chinese – not failing, like Perry would have us fail.

    July 12, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. svann

    "This represents a real threat to our national security because any of these passport carriers can simply buy a plane ticket and show up in the United States without even a visa."

    But going into Iraq wont stop them from buying plane tickets so your argument is void.

    July 12, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. Winston Smith

    About as blind and wrong as you, Perry.

    July 12, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. don in albuquerque

    Don't ya love it when they start eating their own.

    July 12, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  14. RJ

    Hey – where are his nerd glasses!?

    July 12, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. conoclast

    Oooo we just can't wait to see what sort of specimens the uber-gerrymandered republicans will provide us with this time around! Eternally preaching-to-the-choir as they do, will they give us another Sharon Engle?

    They just don't learn, do they.

    July 12, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. sjones581

    Has anyone here, not living in Texas, ever met anybody who would vote for Perry? I haven't.

    July 12, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. Name. Bob

    Ron has it correct. just like his dad, if you stay out of their business, they will stay out of ours. Sunni & Shiite have been warring for 1,000 years

    July 12, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. sjones581

    I've yet to meet anyone who would vote for Perry. Has anybody out there, other than Texans, met one?

    July 12, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. Quixote

    The public is so sick of palin that now the infotainment news needs a new right wing imbec ile as their go to. Just start ignoring stories with perry in the headlines and he will go away from the news just like palin did.

    July 12, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. SweePee

    Two clowns walk into a bar....

    July 12, 2014 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. DocHollywood

    Why have the republicans been complaining about H. Clinton's age (she's 66) and yet have no problems with R Perry's age (he's 64)? Those 'smart' glasses must have 'em fooled.

    July 12, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  22. JohnRJohnson

    Who is dumb enough to listen to anything that Perry says? He's male version of Sarah Palin.

    July 12, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. Elenore

    I can't wait for Elizabeth Warren to announce her running, that is who we need.

    July 12, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. Bob R., Maryland

    Hey, I hope the GOP does pick him. If Hillary doesn't castrate him, Vice President Joe Biden will. Do it Rick! I dare ya!

    July 12, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. herchato

    So far it looks as if the GOP are going to field a group of presidential candidates that might be more entertaining than the field of 2012.

    July 12, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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