July 14th, 2014
10:13 AM ET
6 years ago

Perry vs. Paul: Round two

(CNN) - Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is firing back at Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, in an escalation of a war of words between two potential 2016 Republican presidential contenders over U.S. foreign policy and the country's role in the bloody outbreak of fighting in Iraq.

"There are many things I like about Texas Gov. Rick Perry, including his stance on the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. But apparently his new glasses haven’t altered his perception of the world, or allowed him to see it any more clearly," Paul wrote in an op-ed that appeared Monday in Politico, taking aim at the much talked about eye-wear Perry's been sporting since last year.

"There are obviously many important events going on in the world right now, but with 60,000 foreign children streaming across the Texas border, I am surprised Governor Perry has apparently still found time to mischaracterize and attack my foreign policy," added the first-term senator who doesn't want the U.S. to be the world's policeman.

Paul's critics, such as Perry, liken it to outright isolationism.

"Curiously blind" and "wrong" is how Perry described Paul's foreign policy, in an op-ed Friday in the Washington Post.

"Governor Perry writes a fictionalized account of my foreign policy so mischaracterizing my views that I wonder if he’s even really read any of my policy papers," Paul fired back on Monday.

 

Perry criticizes Paul

This latest skirmish between the two men started with Perry's Washington Post op-ed.

"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 wrote. "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."

Three 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.

Perry wrote that Paul went "so far as to claim...that President Ronald Reagan's own doctrines would lead him to same conclusion," adding that , "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 wrote.

The longtime Texas governor is not running for re-election this year. Instead, recent moves and a higher public profile by Perry appear to be indicators that he will make a second run for the GOP presidential nomination. Perry's 2012 bid started strong, but thanks to a number of well publicized stumbles, his campaign crashed and burned.

Paul fires back

Paul responded to that in his op-ed Monday, writing, "some of Perry’s solutions for the current chaos in Iraq aren’t much different from what I’ve proposed, something he fails to mention. His solutions also aren’t much different from President Barack Obama’s, something he also fails to mention. Because interestingly enough, there aren’t that many good choices right now in dealing with this situation in Iraq."

And Paul wrote that Perry, along with many other Republicans, have misread Reagan's "peace through strength" doctrine.

"Strength does not always mean war. Reagan ended the Cold War without going to war with Russia. He achieved a relative peace with the Soviet Union-the greatest existential threat to the United States in our history-through strong diplomacy and moral leadership," Paul wrote.

"Reagan had no easy options either. But he did the best he could with the hand he was dealt. Some of Reagan’s Republican champions today praise his rhetoric but forget his actions. Reagan was stern, but he wasn’t stupid. Reagan hated war, particularly the specter of nuclear war. Unlike his more hawkish critics-and there were many-Reagan was always thoughtful and cautious."

Paul, the son of three-time presidential candidate and former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, is considered one of the frontrunners right now among the potential 2016 GOP White House hopefuls. While he's popular among many in the party's base, he also appears to enjoy some support from younger voters as he tries increase Republican Party outreach to groups that historically favor the Democratic Party.

A few hours after Paul's op-ed was posted, Perry's office responded.

"Gov. Perry understands that the interconnected world we live in has grown profoundly more dangerous over the last eight years. The American people know well the terrible price our nation has paid as the guarantors of peace and security in the world, but this is no time to turn from the internationalist traditions of Eisenhower and Reagan. Taking the wrong path would mean passing along a world even more dangerous and less secure than the one we live in today," said Perry spokesman Travis Considine.

Paul vs. Cheney

Former Vice President Dick Cheney weighed in Monday on the Paul-Perry feud over Iraq. Paul, a critic of the former vice president, said last month that Cheney and former President George W. Bush should shoulder more of the blame than Obama for the new unrest in Iraq. Cheney fired back, calling Paul "an isolationist"

Monday, in an interview with Politico's Mike Allen, Cheney refused to take sides in the tiff between Paul and Perry, saying "I don’t plan today to endorse any candidates for president."

But the former vice president went on to say that "one of my great concerns is that we’ve gotten to the point where, within our own party, we have sort of an isolationist strain developing."

Cheney said that anyone who believes the U.S. can retreat from the international stage after 9/11 is misguided, adding that "I think isolationism is crazy."

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser and CNN's Shannon Travis contributed to this story

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Filed under: 2016 • Iraq • Rand Paul • Rick Perry
soundoff (294 Responses)
  1. Bill

    Perry does kind of remind me of Clark Kent. If my only choices were Rand Paul and Rick Perry, I would pick Paul and I'm 60.

    July 14, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  2. fromoverhere

    Love the frame-grabs: Paul looks like he just sucked a lemon, and Perry looks like he's reading a scene from Days Of Our Lives. Badly.

    July 14, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. readerpan

    Being called crazy by Cheney would be a badge of honor to sensible people.

    July 14, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC!!
    Are you saying that tom l/ Tom L/ jennifer is ALSO smith?
    The FOUR faces of tom?
    Say it isn't so?!
    But it sure would explain a lot.

    July 14, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. DP

    What a sad worldview Perry must have that his only understanding of interacting with the world is militarily.

    July 14, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. barb'sbarb

    Both are so full of heifer dust neither one should be in public office ....

    July 14, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. QUIT PULLING THE REAGAN CARD

    How did I know one of these guys were gonna go Reagan on me. QUIT WITH THE REAGAN NONSENSE. HE WAS A PRETTY GOOD PRESIDENT AT BEST

    July 14, 2014 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. What evs

    Outstanding comeback Ol' Yeller!!
    And that last line...BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
    Priceless!
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Oh lordy... Birds of a feather...

    July 14, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. PoofterPansy

    Other than making him look like a block head, they're fine. He just happens to be a bock head too.

    July 14, 2014 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. MeMelvin

    Both appear to have too much time on their hands...

    July 14, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. Arglebjargle

    Jesus...if this is an example of the best we've got to run our country, God help us all.

    July 14, 2014 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. FLUX

    The Republican political fist fighting has begun. It was fun a few years ago to watch a group of politicians in the same party tear each other apart on National TV. They had no clue that they were a reflection of the massive internal struggles in the Party. Can't wait for the new season of the Republican Reality Show "I shot myself in the foot.".

    July 14, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  13. Natrldiver

    If a politician has to pick on the appearance of another then they really have nothing to go on in the first place.

    July 14, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  14. Ol' Yeller

    What evs

    Angry? Why would I be angry (and I am far from a hater, guest. I cannot stand haters. I rail against the haters on here daily). Because I respond with tongue in cheek, biting humor to your blindside attack on me when I have never once posted anything in response to you... I am angry (insightfu, aren't we?)?
    Like my grandpappy used to say... If you wade barehanded into a dogfight and get bit... it aint the dog's fault.
    But you go right ahead and keep posting your little snide remarks at me... (it shows the level of your character, not mine).
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Funny that you bring up character... Yours is so apparent that I just had to call it out. Now just go back to posting insults at everyone that you disagree with and breaking your arm patting yourself on the back in the process.

    Sure. Will do.
    And you can go back to trolling and 'calling people out' for their 'character' by defending your little buddy for his rascist name calling.

    You and tom I make a great pair btw... both of you are just sooo 'convinced' of your own moral and intellectual superiority that you cannot fathom how everyone else can't see it also.
    I breathlessly await your 'I know you are, but what am I?" fourth grade level retort.
    So substantive and clever you are.... a legend in your own mind.

    July 14, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  15. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    kelly says:
    July 14, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm
    Rick Perry is not a 2016 presidential contender. stop saying that. republicans are not stupid people. none of them want him as president. stop trying to make republicans out to be dumb.

    They do that all on their own. They don't need any help.

    July 14, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. MarieEricksson

    Gov. Perry can see Mexico from his bedroom window, and this clearly makes him the more informed of the two of them on foreign policy!

    But Rand can easily push back (and interestingly does not) by noting that Perry’s disingenuous statements of how important it is to the USA to stay involved are more to assist the military industrial complex’s continuing profit stream than because Perry truly cares about what happens in the rest of the world.

    July 14, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. XanJester

    "Governor Perry writes a fictionalized account of my foreign policy so mischaracterizing my views that I wonder if he’s even really read any of my policy papers,"

    Well of course he has. There are dozens of copies on Wikipedia. Though they are never attributed to Mr. Paul.

    July 14, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  18. okfine

    Miriam
    Rand and Paul are 100 % better than the bozo we have in office now. And that commie loon socialist Hillary should retire. We are sick of the Clintons. Obama has done everything in his power to ruin the USA.
    Counting the days until November 2015. Better yet, January 2016 and he can take his kids, wife and mother-in-law who is living off the taxes of the Americans. What first lady ever had 28 attendants for herself? Jackie Kennedy had tow little ones and she didn't want anyone around her. This is just greed- pure liberal greed with fried chicken
    --

    Congratulations Miriam for packing every right wing stereotypical racist comment imagined into one paragraph The Faux is strong with this one.

    July 14, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  19. Red

    Paul 2016: Because he is slightly less crazy than the rest of the GOP field.

    July 14, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  20. lucky two

    Get the NRA to sponsor a duel and may the stupidest person win.

    July 14, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  21. Lemon

    If we minded our own business in the first place 9/11 wouldn't have even happened.

    July 14, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  22. Irene

    Give me a break Rand Paul!!! You should be focusing on saving the coal jobs in Eastern Kentucky instead of Gov. Perry's glasses! If you are re-elected it will be a miracle...............................................................................................

    July 14, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    And btw Miriam Einstein... The Obama's don't leave the WH until January 2017..... Why don't you hold your breath until then. 😊

    July 14, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. Ol' Yeller

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    How gallant of you to defend tom I by attacking me and making such silly statements when you have no idea of anything about me. I'm sure you will run off now (and probablty change your screen name back to tom I) and never be heard from again.
    You are obviously a brave and honorable individual (aka- what republicants think of themselves as, but is as far from reality as you can get).
    You should probably crawl back under your rock now.. you have made the most intelligent statement you are likely to ever make in your lifetime... other than maybe 'Guilty your honor, but in my defense I thought she was 13"
    -----------------–
    Outstanding comeback Ol' Yeller!!
    And that last line...BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
    Priceless!

    Thank you, mama... I am sad to say my adversary appears to have very little wit, sense. or actual defense here. She is defending tom I for referring to me as 'Boy' and then trying to build one of his (daily) little straw men to hide behind and play victim.
    I actually think it is tom I with a clever little, 'never before thought of' screen name change, so he can defend himself without admitting his little rascist remark did not go unnoticed (he actually brought it back up himself by lying about me 'threatening him'- it was like two weeks ago!).
    Typical little rwnj game playing. Afraid to face up to the actual political arguments and defense of their indefensible christian, white male party with their stale old 'ideas' designed to keep everyone else down while they rake it all in for themselves (and convincing these numbskulls on here it is 'in their best interest').

    July 14, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. Ol' Yeller

    okfine

    Miriam
    Rand and Paul are 100 % better than the bozo we have in office now. And that commie loon socialist Hillary should retire. We are sick of the Clintons. Obama has done everything in his power to ruin the USA.
    Counting the days until November 2015. Better yet, January 2016 and he can take his kids, wife and mother-in-law who is living off the taxes of the Americans. What first lady ever had 28 attendants for herself? Jackie Kennedy had tow little ones and she didn't want anyone around her. This is just greed- pure liberal greed with fried chicken
    -

    Congratulations Miriam for packing every right wing stereotypical racist comment imagined into one paragraph The Faux is strong with this one.

    Yes.... And I just LOVE how she could not contain her racism there at the very 'with fried chicken'.... what a hoot!

    July 14, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
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