July 14th, 2014
10:13 AM ET
8 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.

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"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. SeattleReign

    I can't stand either one of them, but if I were forced to choose between the two, for intelligence alone, I'd give it to Rand Paul. It's a decision I won't have to make, though, since I will NOT vote Republican in the party's current state. I still predict that Jeb Bush will be recruited as the least extremist in his views whether the TP likes it or not. Their days are numbered.

    July 14, 2014 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Oh lordy... Birds of a feather...
    I'm in great company with Ol' Yeller.
    You on the other hand with tom l/TomL/jennifer (possibly smith), not so much.
    Let me quote my good friend Ol' Yeller to you once again:
    "you can go back to trolling and 'calling people out' for their 'character' by defending your little buddy for his racist name calling.

    You and tom I make a great pair"
    Bye, bye, blackbirds. Tweet! Tweet!

    July 14, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  3. CSD

    Wow, can the GOP find any more immature cretins than these two? What next, Perry going to tell mommy? What a pathetic crew.

    July 14, 2014 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Ol' Yeller
    Anytime babe.
    Your posts never fail to make me smile with their incisive wit.
    Keep it up!

    July 14, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Ol' Yeller says:
    July 14, 2014 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm
    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!!!!!

    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’).

    My 2 favorite posters!!! 😍😍😍😍

    July 14, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. smith

    @Rudy-You stated I worship Rand Paul. I never said anything close to that. You call me a libertarian when I`ve always said Im an Independent. Now you say I post under different names. Thats three lies you said about me in one day. Wow..smh.

    July 14, 2014 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. Common Sense

    Not a fan of Senator Paul, but I would bet the average american does not care what happens any place in the world – including Israel. We do not see the offenses being committed and just don't care.

    July 14, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. Zon

    I think all three of them are crazy, especially Cheney and Perry.

    July 14, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  9. tmb

    Senator Paul is one of those little minded gossip/insult types who sits around with his legs crossed throwing out insults like some Diva whose followers think she is brilliant and has a sparkling wit. I mean he really thinks he is a southern charmer with his biting and scathing comments. He is such a nothing!

    July 14, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  10. What evs

    @Yeller – No need to retort....you did a fine job on your own living up to expectation. Good job!

    July 14, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  11. What evs

    @DMFO – same list applies but now I can safely add "portly".

    July 14, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. tom l

    "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!)."


    My goodness. How is it when commenting to Rudy and referring to you as "your boy" racist? Please explain because I have no idea what you're talking about.

    And the "I'm nervous" comment was a joke and I was mocking you. Why on earth would I fear you? You're just a tough guy in front of a keyboard whom I will never meet so what fear would there be? I guess I gave you too much credit that you would recognize that was a snide joke but, alas, I guess I need to be even clearer with you. You're just so smart that I thought you could figure it out but I was off on that assumption.

    And, we have reached a new low with the gang today. So now you're trying to claim (or Rudy is) that I have multiple names (other than tom l and Tom l which is obviously both me) If you haven't noticed, smith and I disagree on some topics so your inane claim that I would create another commenter is beyond ludicrous...not to mention that I am clearly not looking for positive reinforcement when posting here; I'm just saying how I feel. Once again, projecting with the liberal mindset groupthink.

    You guys need to stop projecting and placing liberal mindset and thought processes on people who do not think like you do. Victim is a liberal mindset. Needing to have positive reinforcement is a liberal mindset.

    And DMFO, I'm pretty disappointed with you and your reaction. I would think you would have defended me even though we don't see eye to eye politically.

    July 14, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Ol' Yeller:
    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!).
    Lack of wit and sense from the Right wing supporters on this thread and elsewhere?
    Whaaat? Say it isn't so (sarcasm).
    I am concerned for tom l on two counts actually:
    #1. I've never heard of anybody getting their butt whupped THROUGH the internet. So his "fear" borders on the delusional (wink!).
    #2. tom l and his multiple posting "personalities" are starting to make Sybil look clinically normal. What could motivate somebody to post under so many different names......besides a paycheck (or paychecks in his case).
    Either way, you always acquit yourself quite well, and unfortunately for them you do it in a down home kind of way that is reaches even the most densest elements amongst the usual suspects.

    July 14, 2014 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  14. ekim corcho

    Sounds like the movie dumb and dumber

    July 14, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  15. john

    "Gentlemen! You can't fight in here, this the War Room"

    July 14, 2014 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  16. William

    Perry is a pseudo intellect that uses ghost writers for his op-eds. He is comical at best and should realize he is out of his element and get back to doing nothing. I don't care for either but Senator Paul is at least articulate and coherent.

    July 14, 2014 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  17. White Horse Prophecy

    I think the GOP is ultimately going to go with Romney at a brokered convention, after they finish tearing each other apart.

    July 14, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  18. Young Man

    Marco Rubio sounded smarter when he was taking that swig of water, saying nothing.

    July 14, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |

    Can we just raise taxes on the bloated fat cats, please?

    July 14, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  20. gahh

    Dear Cheney, I'd rathered be known as an Isolationist, than a mass murderer, which is exactly what you and Bush are. Remember your crack that Iraq would welcome us with open arms, instead they considered us invaders. You and Bush are responsible for the killing of 2 to 3 hundred thousand innocent Iraqi's, also you and Bush have endangered all of us here in America. You should have to give the heart back, that you bought on the black market.

    July 14, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. Marvin M

    The only think I like about Perry is his new glasses.

    July 14, 2014 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  22. carre1

    If Rand Paul weren't such a whacko (in my opinion) on domestic and social issues, he'd be my perfect candidate. If Perry thinks his new glasses make him look intellectual, he's wrong.

    July 14, 2014 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  23. Really.

    Rand Paul is a smug little snot who sounds like a pretentious elitist with a lousy attitude.

    July 14, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  24. Really.

    Rand Paul looks like a granny in his lips pursed photo...ohhhh my.

    July 14, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  25. smith

    Its pretty darn sad when some on here have come to the point of conpiracy theories on the ticker. When somone makes a comment on here everyone can see it or revisit that post and check out. So it is completely stupid to claim a poster said something that they really didn`t say(Its all on record). Now, after that person has found they were wrong about the contents of someones post then they start claiming your a different person so lie becomes true is insane( hence the reason why Rudy is claiming Im Tom l). I never have claimed to be a Rand Paul fan or a libertarian and Rudy knows it. If you can prove it copy it and post it smh.

    July 14, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
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