Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that Republican hawks are 'lap dogs' for President Obama and his foreign policy.
"These people who call loudest to criticize me are great proponents of president Obama’s foreign policy and they just want to do it ten times over," Paul said on Fox's "America's Newsroom." "I’m really the one standing up to President Obama and these people are essentially the lapdogs for President Obama, and I think they’re sensitive about that."
The comments follow several days of pointed barbs between Paul and some of his more hawkish GOP colleagues, including Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), a potential presidential rival. Graham said that Paul has been "more wrong than right" on foreign policy and is not as aggressive as Obama. McCain said Monday that Paul "doesn't understand" foreign policy and has shown "naivete" about the issue in the Senate.
"This comes from a group of people who have been wrong about every foreign policy issue over the last two decades," Paul said Tuesday.
The Kentucky Republican, whose foreign policy had long been less interventionist than many of his Republican colleagues, has tacked to the right while preparing for his presidential run. He put forward an amendment to increase defense spending that did not pass and has tried to cement national defense as a top priority, even giving a speech in front of an aircraft carrier in South Carolina.
Paul continued to cast himself as an heir to the defense legacy of Ronald Reagan, hoping to achieve "peace through strength" and asserting that intervention can sometimes lead to unintended consequences.
As he did in New Hampshire Saturday, Paul said he is the only candidate willing to buck both Obama and Republicans on foreign policy.
"But I’m the only one standing up saying the war in Libya is a mistake. The bombing of Assad would make ISIS stronger. The arms to the Islamic rebels would make ISIS stronger," he said.
"Some of these critics are for bombing both sides of the Syrian war. Their foreign policy is so disjointed, confusing and chaotic that people really need to reexamine people who want to be involved in every war," he said.