Perry 'taken aback' by Paul's comments on Iran
December 16th, 2011
05:07 PM ET
11 years ago

Perry 'taken aback' by Paul's comments on Iran

(CNN) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry expressed dismay on Friday over rival Ron Paul's call at Thursday night's debate to ease sanctions on Iran.

"I was really taken aback by the power of [Paul's] statement from the standpoint of allowing the Mullahs and a madman to come into possession of a nuclear bomb and that we should not care about that," Perry said on CNN'S "John King, USA."

Using the term "madman," Perry was referring to 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."

The comment has fueled the primary argument for those who want to dismantle Iran's nuclear development.

At Thursday's debate, Paul stirred controversy on stage when he said U.S. sanctions against Iran were an "act of war" and praised President Barack Obama for "backing off on the sanctions," saying "it's going to be an economic calamity if you take all the oil out of Europe."

Instead, Paul, a strict non-interventionist, urged the government to use diplomats to resolve the situation.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann quickly pounced on Paul's statements, engaging in a tense exchange with the Texas congressman.

"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."

Citing the report, Bachmann argued Iran was just months away from developing a nuclear weapon, a claim that Paul strongly disputed. The Texas congressman said Bachmann was "dramatizing" the report and argued the agency had no evidence of any "enrichment" of bombs.

"You cannot solve these problems with war," Paul said. "You can solve the problems if we follow our constitution and go to war only when we declare the war, win them and get them over with instead of this endless fighting and this endless attitude that we have enemy all around the world."

On Friday, Perry echoed Bachmann's line of attack against Paul.

"There should be no space between the United States and Israel, and I was just really taken aback by Dr. Paul's almost nonchalant statement," Perry told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.

He added that he gets his information from "some pretty wise and plugged-in people," including former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, who he said is "greatly concerned about Iran."

Watch the full interview at 6 p.m. ET on CNN's "John King, USA."

Also see:

Gingrich 'editing' his words as campaign acknowledges concern

Bachmann camp: Gingrich morphs positions based on 'who's paying'

Perry moving staff to Iowa

Filed under: Iran • Rick Perry • Ron Paul • TV-John King U.S.A.
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. ExLonghorn

    Iran's policy makers perceive the American nuclear and non-nuclear armada in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea as the greatest threat to their security.
    All this obviously makes for a dangerous strategic environment as far as Tehran is concerned, regardless of the nature of the Iranian regime. The American decision to invade non-nuclear Iraq while desisting from militarily confronting a nuclear North Korea surely tells Iran's rulers that even rudimentary nuclear capability can deter potential American and allied designs to attack Iran, whether to topple its regime or impair its nuclear capacity. Can someone seriously say that Ron Paul isn't making sense here??? He's the only one who is thinking through the logic of the situation.

    December 16, 2011 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  2. ExLonghorn

    Iran's policy makers perceive the American nuclear and non-nuclear armada in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea as the greatest threat to their security.
    All this obviously makes for a dangerous strategic environment as far as Tehran is concerned, regardless of the nature of the Ir@nian regime. The American decision to invade non-nuclear Iraq while desisting from militarily confronting a nuclear North Korea surely tells Iran's rulers that even rudimentary nuclear capability can deter potential American and allied designs to attack Iran, whether to topple its regime or impair its nuclear capacity.

    December 16, 2011 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  3. opus512

    John Bolton is an idiot. If that's your foriegn policy expert, God help us if you got elected.

    December 16, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  4. SiriusVH

    I am surprised that Bachmann, Perry, Palin and Co. have not yet called Paul a 'treasonous, un-patriotic, un-American Liberal'. I am sure that many in the GOP think that way .. 😉

    December 16, 2011 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  5. steve heriot

    Does anyone care to listen to the war drums beating out of russian and china? iran's oil is important to their 'national interests' and we had better start thinking about the repercussions of our actions against iran. what would we do if some country attacked canada, our largest source of oil, for instance?

    December 17, 2011 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  6. sam

    Ron Paul is the only who has passion for America. He understands the problem. Rest of them are selfish, power seeking and just say what people want to hear.

    December 17, 2011 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  7. Moelen

    Paul, Perry, Santorum, Bachman, the lizard (Newt), Romney, and whatever other clown the Republicans are trying to sell to the American public, is a reason for all Americans to get out and vote in November...Please people, get out and vote, America cannot afford to elect any Republican/Tbag as POTUS. President Obama has my vote once again. Tired of wars, especially ones we never should have fought, tired of Republicans/Tbags pushing for more wars...enough already.

    December 17, 2011 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  8. sam

    I wonder what Texans were smoking when they elected Perry.

    December 17, 2011 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  9. sam

    Ron Paul 2012...Go for Ron. Save America.

    December 17, 2011 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  10. koga001

    i don't care about israel. i don't care about iran. i don't care if either or both have a nuke or get wiped off the map. that is THEIR problem. what i care about is getting food on the table for my sign. let the people on the other side of the world manage themselves.

    December 17, 2011 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  11. Richard

    I agree with Dr. Paul, Why should we be the world police what has it gotten us besides every other country hating us and wanting to hurt us. I say protect our own on our own land let them do what they want if they provoke go to war dont just go to war because you were flying a plane over there country and they shot it down and would not give it back so we go to war....oh they "might" have nuclear weapons is that might worth the lives of our soldiers and the trillions of dollars it would cost us ........yeah and saddam had WMD's too oh wait.....

    December 17, 2011 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  12. Scott

    I don't care what the media says. This is not much different than Iraq in 2003. The only difference? Iraq actually had a RECORD of attacking people! Iran isn't known to actually do that!

    In fact, it's worse propaganda than Iraq! What blows my mind is that you have reports that said Iraq didn't have WMD's, and now you have Iran who doesn't have WMD's, and here we are doing the same crap again.

    December 17, 2011 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  13. Raul

    What on earth was Perry taken aback by? Ron Paul only said what he's been saying for a long long time. He didn't say anything new. Maybe Perry never bothered to listen to Ron Paul until now.

    December 17, 2011 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  14. Ashok

    I feel Ron Paul's policies are more thoughtful and practical in modern world.
    We can't just police the world and keep fighting. Other candidates wants more military , more machinery and more military bases. Where is the money coming from ?

    December 17, 2011 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  15. carlos

    Yeah poor Israel if Iran gets a nuclear weapon right!!. These stupids GOP candidates who stand for Israel seem to forget that Israel has more than 300 nuclear weapons and will use them to distroy Irn if attaked. Do you think Iranians are too stupid to attack Israel knowing they could be distroyed?, believe Iranians have more brains than these morons GOP candidates (except Ron Paul).
    We the people just want peace and progress and the only candidate who can give us that is Ron Paul.

    December 17, 2011 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  16. Jay

    As a Paul supporter, I want to thank Ashley for getting the terminology correct for what I believe to be the first time in a CNN article by calling Paul a non-interventionist rather than an isolationist. That's a pet-peeve of many of us and it gets noticed and well-received when the media gets it right.

    December 17, 2011 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  17. Abdullah

    no one could be more concerned about iraan possesing neuks than my self. i know the evil regime. but if we take agreetion actions, Iran could easily targit oil and gas wells in sauid arabia, qatar, kuawit, oman, and the UAE.(since they will be shown as supporters of our attack) this will make oil prices sky rokkit. and about sanctions. they do not stop the regm. Russa is giving it to them any way. only Iranian people are dammiged. Solutioin, here i dissagree with paul. pressure israel to attack Iran. then Iran will not have any moral grounds to attak oil countries.

    December 17, 2011 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  18. krissmith777

    Why would Perry be "taken aback?" Hasn't he been paying attention in the other debates?

    December 17, 2011 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  19. Robert Fallin

    Let me put this in small words, Rick, so even you will understand it. Let's say the US or Israel proceed with bombing Iran's nuclear facilities based on "incomplete" intelligence. Iran retaliates by closing the Straits of Hormuz, cutting off the oil to Europe. Europe's economy collapses overnight. Meanwhile, China calls in our ONE TRILLION DOLLAR debt, freezing US accounts. The US, Great Britain and Israel retaliate by carpet bombing Iranian cities. Russia and China, both informal allies of Iran, see an opportunity for a first strike, nuking Israel and US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Welcome to World War III, Rick. Is that simple enough for you?

    December 17, 2011 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  20. Huen

    Ron Paul is right.

    December 17, 2011 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  21. Rudy

    Once upon a time I believed in the republican party, that war was the answer....that the Muslims were our enemies became they didn't like us for being Christian and having freedom... the only problem is we are far from Christian, and far from free... the reason Radical Muslims want to kill us is because we kill them, bomb them, invade them, kill their leaders and put new leaders in place. The truth is they are sick of us policing the world, and all the other GOP'ers except Ron Paul see that... After this election if Ron Paul does not get elected, im going to register as a Independent. If only one of the candidate is actually "ELECTABLE" out of 7.... than the Republican party is pardon my french screwed... Dems and Rep... are the problem, one wants war the other wants welfare.... and none of them are willing to make any cuts to each...even if it destroys our country.

    December 17, 2011 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  22. Thinker23

    I've read all comments in this threat and, interestingly enough, NOT A SINGLE ONE addressed the issue, the possible results of a nuclear Iran and the ways to deal with these results. It's pretty sad, to say the least. The truth is that Iran DID threaten to attack Israel and that Iran IS developing nuclear weapons. The truth is that Israel can not and will not sit idle waiting to be nuked. The truth is that Israel does not have strategic bombers, aircraft carriers and millions of troops and, therefore, its means to prevent an Iranian attack are pretty limited. The truth is that a nuclear war in the Middle East will, probably, result in millions of casualties and will make the largest oil fields on the planet unaccessible for many centuries throwing the world economy into a crisis of epic proportions. Now please feel free to ask Ron Paul about the ways he, as a President, is planning to deal with it.

    December 17, 2011 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  23. Anonymous

    With the exception of Ron Paul, the GOBP ne(cr)ocon deathcult is on a mission to shed more American blood and spend more American money attacking Iran. Doing so would be insane, of course, as it would tank the world economy, possibly ignite WW III and send gas prices through the roof. I am more and more inclined to vote for Mr. Paul on these reasons alone,

    December 17, 2011 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  24. PressRonPaul

    Lest's see now, 45 million plus Americans on food stamps, a national debt of over 15 Trillion and a congress that could not figure out how to agree on anything even close to difficult. They may call Dr. Paul Crazy but all you have to do is look to DC for the real nuts!

    December 17, 2011 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  25. Peter Allen

    It really doesn’t matter how some of us feel concerning those who would be President
    As unfortunate as it may seem the American people are so turned off by the total incompetence of our elected officials, from the White house to Congress with an overall
    8% approval rating, what does that say about our Representative’s, That they are not doing their job for the American people or our State’s, In a reality check if you will, America needs a new direction with new Representative’s, no more of the same old thing, look were that had got us, Unless all voting Americans including me get off of our asses and vote these incompetent individuals out of office, and I mean all of them, Democrat, Republican, and elect honest hard working Americans, members of America’s many third parties to office, nothing will chance, and we the American people will still be the losers.
    Member of the Independence Party of Florida

    December 17, 2011 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
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