Sen. Rand Paul fired back at Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Monday, slamming Perry's criticism of his stance on Iraq.
The 2016 presidential election may still be two years away, but this latest feud — which has played out in the opinion pages of Washington's political publications — looks a lot like infighting spurred by the upcoming primaries.
Published in Politico, Paul's Monday column came in response to Perry's late-Friday article in the Washington Post, which dubbed Paul's views on Iraq as "isolationist" and blind toward threats to national security. In particular, Perry sharply disagreed that Paul's takes on national security and the economy align with those of GOP patriarch Ronald Reagan. Paul drew the parallels in a Wall Street Journal column from June.
Like Perry, Paul wants everyone to know that the other is very wrong.
“Perry says there are no good options. I’ve said the same thing. President Obama has said the same thing. So what are Perry’s solutions and why does he think they are so bold and different than anyone else’s?” Paul asks, before undertaking a point by point take-down of Perry’s stance. In short, Paul wants to keep supporting Iraq’s government and using “advanced technology” to keep ISIS at bay, but he doesn’t want to send more troops in, something Perry suggested in his ill-fated 2012 presidential bid.
The pair are both widely considered presidential contenders for 2016. Perry has admitted that he's considering a run and promising that he'll be better prepared this time. He's been on a media blitz in recent weeks to discuss the immigration crisis in which tens of thousands of young children are flooding across the border into his state. On Friday, Perry's talking points expanded to include U.S. policy on Iraq.
Paul responded by taking aim at the border crisis. “[W]ith 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,” he wrote. “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.”
The senator went on to assert that he has presented a stronger approach to addressing the situation in Iraq. “If the governor continues to insist that these proposals mean I’m somehow 'ignoring ISIS,' I’ll make it my personal policy to ignore Rick Perry’s opinions," Paul declared.