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A budding rivalry between Republican Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz -- both potential 2016ers -- now appears to be underway on the issue of foreign policy.
It began on Sunday, when Cruz (R-Texas) told ABC that he disagreed with Paul's foreign-policy views. "I'm a big fan of Rand Paul. He and I are good friends. But I don't agree with him on foreign policy." More Cruz: "I think U.S. leadership is critical in the world. And I agree with him that we should be very reluctant to deploy military force abroad. But I think there is a vital role, just as Ronald Reagan did... The United States has a responsibility to defend our values."
But this morning, Paul fired back with an op-ed on the conservative site Breitbart.com, arguing that some Republicans -- apparently Cruz -- have misrepresented Ronald Reagan's foreign policy.
Though not mentioning Cruz by name, Paul wrote, "Every Republican likes to think he or she is the next Ronald Reagan. Some who say this do so for lack of their own ideas and agenda. Reagan was a great leader and president. But too often people make him into something he wasn't in order to serve their own political purposes... Many forget today that Reagan's decision to meet with Mikhail Gorbachev was harshly criticized by the Republican hawks of his time, some of whom would even call Reagan an appeaser."
Paul concludes, "Today's Republicans should concentrate on establishing their own identities and agendas, as opposed to simply latching onto Ronald Reagan's legacy-or worse, misrepresenting it."
Foreign policy has the potential to be one of the top issues that will divide Republican presidential candidates, with Paul arguing for a lighter U.S. footprint around the world , and other Republicans advocating more hawkish views.