Hours before Hillary Clinton was expected to announce her bid for president, fellow 2016 Republican contender Sen. Rand Paul, along with other likely GOP candidates, were already on the attack, reminding folks of the last time she tried – and failed – to claim the Oval Office.
Referencing one of Clinton’s most memorable campaign ads from her 2008 run – in which she said she could take on any crisis at any hour, even if it meant a phone call at 3 a.m. – the Kentucky senator said Clinton was not prepared to tackle every situation. Harkening on the Republican rallying cries against Clinton’s tenure at the State Department, Paul said that the 2012 attacks in Benghazi were Clinton’s “3 a.m. phone call that she never picked up.”
“I think the fact that she didn’t provide that security will go to the heart of the matter of whether or not we should have her as commander in chief,” Paul said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush pre-empted Clinton’s announcement by tying her to President Obama and condemning the administration’s record abroad.
“We must do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies,” Bush says in a 50-second video clip posted on Twitter.
Lincoln Chafee, a Republican-turned-Independent-turned-Democrat from Rhode Island who is currently mulling a 2016 bid of his own, questioned Clinton’s judgement and foreign policy chops during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“What kind of accomplishments did you have? There were precious few,” Chafee said of Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
Since announcing plans to launch an exploratory committee to seek the Democratic nomination, Chafee has come out strong against Clinton’s record on the War in Iraq, a military escalation that Chafee staunchly opposed, even when he served as a Republican senator.
“She didn’t do her homework, and we live with the ramifications today,” Chafee said. “If you show lack of judgment, lack of doing your homework then, what can we expect in the future?”
One week into Paul’s presidential campaign, and things are already off to a rocky start. His rollout message became muddled under drama after he got into several prickly confrontations with reporters. Later, Paul dominated the Sunday morning programing, but it was Clinton who stole the show. Paul publicly complained about not being invited to the National Rifle Association’s annual confab this week, a venue that hosted virtually every other GOP presidential contender in front of the bread and butter of the party’s key demographics.
Paul admitted on “Meet the Press” that he has a “hard time hiding” his distaste when he disagrees with how journalists frame their questions.
“I don’t like it … when a lot of the question is built up into, ‘Well, you’ve changed your rhetoric. You’ve changed your opinion. And I guess this is your opinion at least for now,’” he said. “And that kind of tipped me off. That’s snide.”