Republican Sen. Rand Paul escalated his ongoing foreign policy feud with John McCain on Monday while arguing this his non-interventionist military views are supported by a sizable amount of GOP presidential primary voters.
“I want less, McCain wants more [military intervention],” Paul said at an event sponsored by the Wall Street Journal. “He wants 15 countries more, 15 wars more. But the thing is, is that there is a more and a less argument. When you poll that in Iowa, 45 percent agreed with McCain and 41 percent agreed with me.”
Paul was referencing a Bloomberg/Des Moines Register poll from early October that asked:
The Republican Party has two main views on foreign policy. Which is closer to your view—should the U.S. be quicker to intervene in conflicts overseas, as John McCain suggests, or should the U.S. pull back current military engagements to be less interventionist in foreign policy, as Rand Paul suggests?
Paul was asked how he would deal with the possibility that his opponents and Super PACs would attack him for being weak on defense. But the Kentucky Republican said his viewpoint is gaining steam and would not necessarily be a hindrance if he runs for president in 2016.
“This is not a small movement, nor is it easy to say people like myself, who believe in less intervention, can be characterized as people who don't believe in a strong national defense,” Paul said. “That is a caricature and I will have to fight that, but we’ll see what happens.”
McCain and Paul have sparred over the role the United States should play in the world. But the two seemed to be turning a corner recently when McCain said Paul was “evolving with experience” and told The New Yorker he would support Paul if he became the Republican presidential nominee.