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Ted Cruz: ‘I don’t agree’ with Rand Paul on foreign policy

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he disagrees with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on foreign policy, stoking an emerging divide between the tea party favorites ahead of a possible 2016 presidential primary.

"I'm a big fan of Rand Paul; he and I are good friends. I don't agree with him on foreign policy," Cruz told ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos." "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."

Paul, who is known for espousing a more libertarian approach to foreign policy and national security, has come under criticism that he is not strong enough on this front. But he hit back against critics Sunday, saying that those who claim he is not strong enough are trying to score political points.

"I think those who would try to argue that somehow I'm different than the mainstream Republican opinion are people who want to take advantage for their own personal political gain. I'm a great believer in Ronald Reagan. I'm a great believer in a strong national defense," Paul said on "Fox News Sunday."

Paul and Cruz appeared to disagree on another front. The Texas senator criticized three of the past four GOP presidential nominees in his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week. When asked about it Sunday, Paul said, "I would just say that everybody has their own style. My style is that I stand for things, and I don't think -- people don't question whether I stand for principle. But I don't spend a lot of time trying to drag people down."

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
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Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
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The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
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We'll have half a million voters in South Carolina. I can shake a lot of hands, but I can't shake that many.
Sen. Marco Rubio, speaking to a group of reporters about his strategy to regain support after a poor performance in the last debate
Fact Checker
Sanders’s claim that Clinton objected to meeting with ‘our enemies’
Sanders said that Clinton was critical of Obama in 2008 for suggesting meeting with Iran. In fact, Clinton and Obama differed over whether to set preconditions, not about meeting with enemies. Once in office, Obama followed the course suggested by Clinton, abandoning an earlier position as unrealistic.
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The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

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