Paul: Gingrich a 'chickenhawk'
January 4th, 2012
09:54 AM ET
11 years ago

Paul: Gingrich a 'chickenhawk'

(CNN) - Rep. Ron Paul said Wednesday that rival Newt Gingrich was a "chickenhawk" for voting to send American troops into war while never having served in the military himself.

Paul was responding to a question from CNN's Soledad O'Brien on the program "Starting Point" about Gingrich's assertion that the Texas congressman would be a "dangerous" candidate.

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"You know, when Newt Gingrich was called to serve us in the 1960s during the Vietnam era, guess what he thought about danger? He chickened out on that and got deferments and didn't even go," Paul said. "Right now he sends the young kids over there and the young people come back and the ones in the military right now, they overwhelmingly support my campaign."

Paul pointed to the number of veterans who are supporting his bid for the GOP nomination, citing their endorsement for his platform of limited American involvement overseas

"We get twice as much support from the active military personnel than all the other candidates put together," Paul said. "So Newt Gingrich has no business talking about danger because he is putting other people in danger. Some people call that kind of a program a 'chickenhawk' and I think he falls into that category."

Paul has previously criticized the former House speaker for deferments he received during the Vietman era. Paul himself served as a surgeon in the U.S. Air Force after attending medical school.

Paul also said Wednesday he had no idea who posted a snarky message about rival candidate Jon Huntsman on his official Twitter page.

The post, which appeared late Tuesday as results were being complied in the Iowa caucuses, read: "@JonHuntsman, we found your one Iowa voter, he's in Linn precinct 5 you might want to call him and say thanks."

"I didn't quite understand even what you just read, but, obviously, I didn't send it," Paul said. "So, I don't even understand. I'm sorry, I didn't catch the whole message there about Jon Huntsman. I haven't talked about Jon Huntsman in a long time. I don't know what's going on there."

The message was sent from the account @RonPaul, which is the candidates official feed. Paul admitted Wednesday that he "has some help tweeting."

Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich • Ron Paul
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Rock Anthony JOHNSON

    I can see from several posts in this comments section that there is huge misunderstanding of Paul's position of non-interventionism.

    The misunderstanding is that a President Paul would in NO circumstance involve the US in any form of interventionism, or policing of the world.

    The correct understanding of Paul is that, while Paul strongly opposes interventionism, preferring diplomacy, he understands that WAR POWERS RESIDE WITH CONGRESS, NOT WITH THE PRESIDENT. So, using Iran as an example, if Congress were to make a declaration of war against Iran, a President Paul would mobilize US military to engage in war, win the war, and return home. BUT NO NATION BUILDING AFTERWARDS.

    I'm sure that a President Paul would make a strong case to Congress and to the American people to not engage Iran in war, but if Congress makes the declaration, Paul would kick into "Commander in Chief" mode.

    Paul has stated this position countless times in the presidential debates. But I guess some people hear only what they want to hear.


    January 4, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  2. DENNA

    Why is this man even still in the GOP race? Michelle Bachmann had the good grace to drop out, now Ron Paul should do the same. He has zero chance to win. However, as a liberal, I would love to see him split GOP vote. LOL

    January 4, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  3. John

    He needs to run as a independant. The Dems / Rep are both a complete joke. There needs to be something totally different than either one of those.

    January 4, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  4. Larry L

    @Tired of War

    "It is TIME to put an end to the war profit machine. Elect Ron Paul!"
    Ron Paul's popularity with the17-29 year-old group is understandable. People naive enough to think simplistic solutions work on very complex problems. Do you have a car and does it use energy to move you around? We're addicted to oil and our military policy gives us the capability to protect "our" oil supply. Is that reality too hard to accept? Too bad. If you've been voting for Republicans you've been voting against renewable energy and for Haliburton etc. Ron Paul is directly quoted as saying "you can defend America with four submarines". The man's an old fool. Submarines give you a strategic nuclear capability only. You would only have the "doomsday" card to play. Throughout history all of the non-interventionist/isolationist nations ulimately get conquered by stronger, more aggressive nations. Those of us who have actually served in the military feel we've done our part to preserve the chosen goals and lifestyle of the American people. If those goals and the needs of the nation are corrupted by our politicians – shame on those of us who vote them back in. Don't mistake the political actions of the weasels we elect to govern our nation with the need for a strong military. Pacifists are eventually called by another name – refugees. Pauls' solutions for environmental protection, healthcare and education are equally simplistric and completely ridiculous. He's telling you what you need to hear – like a preacher.

    January 4, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  5. Wilmer

    As a professional since 1970 investigating reports of sexual abuse, I can assure you that the term "Chickenhawk" is the term reserved for men abusing young boys, typically older than ten but less than the age of consent. I doubt Newt is a chickenhawk. However, I have heard that some of the chickenhawks I've had a small part in helping go to prison are now demanding an apology from Ron Paul for being lumped together with Newt. Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows.

    January 4, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  6. IServed_and?

    Well – the truth hurts at times. Newt is too oldschool and those traits are hard to discard – even years later. He is a hypocrite and is promoting many of the Bush failed policies. I was drafted but showed up to serve. I had the middle-class means to get a college deferment but I felt I was no better than those without the means for a deferment. I believe I am the better for my service. Now what's The Newt's excuse again???

    January 4, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  7. Matt

    @Marie MD Are you serious, this man has given his life to the service of our country.
    Ron Paul enlisted rather than be Drafted. He probably figured if he was drafted he go to a place like Hamburger Hill. When I got out of Boot camp and went the School of Infantry I realized I did not want to be a foot solider. I prayed that I would not be and had the fortune to go to a mechanized unit. Ron Paul was smart. Nothing wrong with playing a smart card once in a while. Please retract your abhorrent statement.

    January 4, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  8. Chickenhawk Means

    Some have asked what "Chickenhawk" means. Typically it is those willing to push a fight but using other's youth to do the fight bidding. It is also a phrase used well by helicopter pilots in the Vietnam War. They had a shield to pull up in front of them with a tiny slot to navigate with. Chickenhawks were typically the "ride-along" brass in the co-pilot seat. When the chopper came into a hot LZ – some of those "ride-alongs" pulled up the shield and let go of the controls – to the Jr officer pilot to bring the bird in – without his shield pulled up.

    January 4, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  9. Jarrod W. L.

    @Marie have you ever served! Don’t you dare chastise someone who has or downplay his role because he was a surgeon. Surgeons are the people that made sure my friends didn’t die when they lost limbs. They are the people that save what’s left of a possibly ruined life. How dare you make a remark.

    January 5, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  10. Cogito

    I though Jerry Sandusky was the chickenhawk...

    January 5, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  11. monkeyman

    Interesting to see all these posts about service. Wondering what percentage of you actually served in the military and what percentage actually were in a combat zone.

    So easy to criticize others and be an armchair warrior.

    Registered Republican but have little liking for the current selection of candidates. Not sure what I will do this election. grandfather, WWI vet, my dad WWII vet, my war, Viet Nam, 68-69, courtesy of the US Navy, riverboats up in I Corp, Perfume and Cua Viet Rivers.

    Guess I am saying if you are gonna criticize you best be able to back your claim about service...or not.

    Do not see much of that...just sayin'

    January 5, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  12. Meq

    It'd be great if we could draft about 80% of the morons posting here who've become even more mentally challenged since I began detaching myself from the mainstream media. Have fun fighting i.s.r.a.e.l's wars, ya'll.

    January 5, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  13. Bobby brains

    The only difference is that, Ron Paul is NOT telling the country to go to WAR. That makes him able to call those who don't serve CHICKEN HAWKS! UNDERSTAND?!

    January 5, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  14. Squigman

    He's right. However, this never became an issue with any Bush administration appointees, or elected pions. Also it should be asked, Why, if you and your party are so patriotic, why arn't your children a part of some branch of military service? I don't remember seeing any of the candidates with family making sacrifices, like the one's they ask the populace to embrace with open arms.

    January 5, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  15. Greg

    Marie MD- The point you are missing is Paul is NOT TRYING TO SEND PEOPLE TO WAR. His remarks about Gingrich involved not being willing to serve, but asking others to. Paul served in the capacity he was most useful in. You don't put Doctors on the front line. Every enlisted man or woman who serves is in harms way, whether they serve in direct combat or not. Of course Paul's service isn't really in question, since he is NOT TRYING TO SEND PEOPLE TO WAR.

    January 5, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  16. ThinkAgain

    @mk1: "The idea of sending others into the fight is cowardly at best, treasonous at worst. Only with the stipulation of the draft would politicians truly have to thoughtfully consider whether to go to war or not."

    You are completely right – and it's why Bush and Cheney never asked us to sacrifice for the "war on terror" because they knew we would then start really looking at why we were going to war and that their "reasoning" to do so wouldn't hold up.

    It made sense to go into Afghanistan; letting bin Laden slip into Pakistan was all part of the plan to have a reason to invade Iraq (don't forget that White House memos clearly show that Bush & Co. started planning an Iraqi invasion within a month of Bush being inaugurated). Sure, Saddam Hussein was a horrible dictator; so was Kim Jong Il, but we didn't invade North Korea (too many nukes, no oil).

    Republicans see war as a way to profit; decent people see it for the horror it is.

    January 5, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  17. ct

    since newt is a chicken hawk, I guess michelle bachman is a chicken head. just saying....

    January 5, 2012 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  18. Timetraveler

    Ron Paul is absolutely right. Gingrich is a chickenhawk. So are most of the Congress Critters who are beating the drums of war to go into Iran.

    January 5, 2012 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  19. Agent P

    Ron Paul was an Air Force OBGYN... Thats right: a gynecologist. Not exactly the chest beating Rambo type he might lead you to believe. Not alot of PAP smears go on in a combat zone. He knew darn well that his chances of being in harm's way were statistically no higher than that of a civilian OBGYN. Paul is no different than the rest: twisting the truth to serve his ambitions.

    January 5, 2012 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  20. Josh

    Don't understand the continued commentary that Ron Paul's foreign policy is dangerous. Is that an acceptance of the current foreign policy is good? Try to see some of our history through the eyes of the rest of the world and I doubt they agree that our foreign policy is good or helpful. We took out an elected government in Iran and installed a dictator. We've sold weapons to both sides in conflicts and played our part in support in the Iraq-Iran war. More recently we invaded two nations and set up camp, aka occupying. One of those nations (Iraq) we invaded and stayed for 8 years for no good reason. Also Obama gets some of the blame for Iraq too. Bush was an idiot for starting it but Obama promised they'd be home within ten months and that didn't happen. Point is we have a long history of meddling with other nations and doing things that are very different from the freedom and values we claim to promote. Not meddling would be a nice change for us and it would keep some people from hating us since seeing us as invaders and occupiers is a stronger reason for people to take up arms against us rather than just "hating us because we're free."

    January 5, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  21. Texas Gal

    Ron Paul is spot on, as usual. He's the only candidate that makes sense to me.

    January 5, 2012 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  22. PollyWollyDoodleHawaii

    Let's face it folks; you vote for someone who gives you the most compelling and convincing lie to fit your ideology.

    Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are ALL equally culpable in this charade.

    If you think otherwise, you are a naive fool.

    So vote for who you think will do the least damage in the years to come; it's been that way for decades longer than any of us been alive.

    January 5, 2012 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  23. Frank

    @ Marie MD...I think most of the best and well trained surgeons this country has to offer are from the military. I served in Iraq and my comrade was riddled with shrapnel and they saved his life. I thought he was going to die for sure. He's not the same, but at least he was able to spend this Christmas with his family alive. These surgeons can pull real miracles.

    January 5, 2012 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  24. Robert Fallin

    Anyone who serves this country is making a sacrifice. Ron Paul did it during time of war. I served in Korea during the Pueblo incident. Later, I joined the US Navy as the Vietnam War was dieing down and was nearly killed five times in 3 1/2 years, from shipboard accidents (ships are VERY dangerous places to work and live). I volunteered at age 17, at the very height of the Vietnam War and retired after 22 years, combined active duty and ANG. By the way, the ANG unit commander at my base in Korea was none other than Colonel Charles E. Yeager, first man to fly faster than the speed of sound.

    "War Heroes" are overrated. Anyone who knows John McCain's background knows he was no hero. George Herbert Walker Bush, a "war hero," is probably the most evil man to ever be elected POTUS.

    January 5, 2012 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  25. Marie MD

    I see from a lot of comments to me, except thanks Joe for letting us know that paul serve in San Antonio and not overseas. It sounds as if a lot of military folks are for paul. Why, I have no idea but we all can have our opinion.
    I am not putting him down for being a surgeon in the AF as I truly believe that most of the doctors who serve in the military are probably the best because they have to serve under harsh conditions which most of us will never encounter.
    My point was that he is going after grinch because he didn't serve. Except for perry none of the candidates served either. So what's the big deal. Our taxes under Eisenhower were the highest ever. It doesn't make you a better president.

    January 5, 2012 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
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