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. R

    PS, only the Congress can send the nations citizens into war. The President only commands them after the Congress declares war. We have not declared war in a long time. These "limited engagements" are what is bankrupting the country.

    January 4, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Kakki

    I do not agree with much of Ron Paul's ideans, but he is so right on the Chicken hawk statement. So glad some politician had the courage to identify some of those who could have served during Vietnam, but somehow found a way to "Chicken" out of serving. As someone who actually worked for a local board during that era, I can vouch for Paul's statement, there were a lot of fold who should have, and was categorized as 1A, who became perpetual students, or whatever deferment they could come up with, including having influential parents who were friendly with a few local board members. So Ron Paul is absolutely right.

    January 4, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Dave

    "Come on Ron, you know it is Mittens who is the real chickenhawk."

    Apart from McCain, most Republicans are chickenhawks and armchair warriors.

    January 4, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. Fran

    Dr. Paul was a surgeon in the Air Force...
    Which means he served, thereby giving him a military perspective most of the other candidates don't have.
    But more importantly, he served not as a fighter, but as the doctor to whom military personnel were brought to to get patched up from fighting.
    When a military person does his turn of duty with other soldiers' blood up to his elbows, I'd say his is a UNIQUE perspective.

    January 4, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Joe Mama

    @Marie MD

    LOL. Should we be putting our trained medical doctors on the front lines? I'm sure the soldiers he treated would totally agree with you that his being there "didn't count." As a surgeon, Ron Paul probably saw more of the horrors of war than many soldiers out in the field. That sounds like someone who would take the role of command-in-chief very seriously. Unlike the chickenhawks. I'm honestly not sure how you can actually interpret that negatively. Unless of course you are in support of the war mongering and killing and increasing debt. And if you are, that's your right, but just be honest about it.

    January 4, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. Tomasina

    What war, what service did obama serve in ?

    January 4, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. Bob

    Long ago and far away it was traditional for kings to lead their troops into battle. I think if we had a national referendum that made it the law of the land for congressmen and presidents that voted to invade other countries to lead our troops into battle, it would pass. I also suspect that peace would break out.

    January 4, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    I think Ron Paul's extreme interpretations gives libertarianism a bad name. In fact, I don't really know why he calls himself a libertarian when anarchist is a much better description of the type of society that he wants to lead.

    January 4, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. JeffJ

    Oh brother, he's really playing the "I don't know who said that on my behalf" card again? This guy really needs to start keeping better track of who has the authority to say things using his name if he wants to be President.

    January 4, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. Alan Seago

    To Marie MD: I am perplexed by your snide comment about Ron Paul. I am not a supporter of Dr. Paul, and I would not vote for him, but I still find your comment unfair. Are you suggesting that only veterans who have served in combat locations deserve respect for their service? Or how about only veterans who have served in combat locations in combat arms assignments? (Heaven forbid we should be grateful for a medic or corpsman who serves in combat.) I think it's admirable that Dr. Paul served in the Air Force, even if he wasn't in a foxhole with an M-16. (Maybe an M-1, in Paul's day.)

    January 4, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. Get Real

    Hooray for Ron Paul!!! He will divide the GOP so thoroughly that they'll not only get creamed by Obama for the Presidency, but will most likely lose every down ticket race as well. Ron Paul is NUTS and so are his followers.

    January 4, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. Dsb

    Although I'm a Democrat I have a lot of respect for Ron Paul. He has never waivered in his beliefs. He has consistently voted his beliefs. I admire him.

    That being said, I agree with a lot of what he has to say about our rights and the Constitution. However, he is just too far out there for me to ever consider him a viable leader. His concepts lack humanity. But I do think it's good for him to be in Congress, to continue to voice his opposition and opinions. I think his speaking out just might insert some sanity into the conversation once in awhile. And it does, hopefully, make us think about what we should and should not allow our government do.

    Yeah, I like Ron Paul. But I like him in Congress, not in the Oval Office

    January 4, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. Tom

    Great, another Ron Paul "I don't know who wrote something in my name" alibi. What a phony.

    January 4, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. A Texan

    Hell, Congress is full of "chickenhawks" ---–

    January 4, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  15. Miss Such-and-Such

    The military is scared of Ron Paul. They are even threatening to reprimand a soldier for saying he likes Ron Paul while in uniform. They haven't ever reprimanded anyone else for saying similar things about different candidates. I know because I see them on TV doing it all the time.

    I think the military has too much power now, much like the judiciary system, the police, and the corporations who own them all.

    January 4, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. rs

    I don't see the current GOP/TP crowd as having any military experience, yet all but Paul promise war with Iran. They are ALL chickenhawks.

    January 4, 2012 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. IraqVetAT

    Well, don't forget about everyone's favorite chickenhawks – Bush and Cheney. Oh, and Saxby Chambliss.....the guy who insinuated that a 3-limb Vietnam vet amputee was a terrorist. Funny how the majority of chickenhawks are in the GOP.

    January 4, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. Ohio man

    @ Fair is Fair

    @ MarieMD –

    Being a 1/3 term freshman senator and community organizer certainly doesn't cut it either. Just sayin...


    You can't have it both ways lil buddy.. 1st you rpubs scream that you need smaller Goverment and some1 from the outside to get us back on track.. Now if I read what u are saying wouldn't that make the Prez an Outsider?.. and why is its such a problem to have a Prez that will spend money on The American people instead of wasting Tax dollars on War.. you didnt have a problem going from 0 – 10.5 trillion for war , but now its a problem to go from 10-14 on the American people .. you crack me up .. Happy New Year

    January 4, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. Iowan

    Most of the right wing conservatives are chickenhawks or armchair quarterbacks. They're always ready to send the troops to war while they find every excuse to not serve! Bring the soldiers home and let's rebuild this country!

    January 4, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  20. billy

    Ron is point on !Those who have not put any skin in the game should NOT be calling the shots for our troops. You lead by example – get it? I'll bet if it were their hide on the line the decisions they make would be different -YES

    January 4, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  21. Sean Russell

    I guess he doesn't know the other meaning of the term 'chickenhawk'.

    January 4, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. Ambrose Smith

    Ron Paul would play ostrich if America were threatened. That's dangerous. I am not for hurrying into a war, but if we had to fight, Paul would be not a chicken hawk-but a CHICKEN!

    January 4, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. KY Conservative

    This man is sounding more and more like a mental case.

    January 4, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. Slimbo

    Yeah that crazy Ron Paul. Peace, fiscal responsibility, the unsustainability of multiple wars. WHAT A NUTJOB!

    January 4, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    You know, folks, the scary thing is only two of the Republican Candidates served in the Military – Ron Paul and Rick Perry. And Paul is the only one who would have reservations about sending troops overseas.

    January 4, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
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