Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul weighed in Sunday on the two hot-button issues for the GOP at the moment: Iraq and Hillary Clinton.
First, Paul addressed Dick Cheney's controversial op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, in which the former vice president harshly — and some say hypocritically — criticized President Barack Obama's handling of the crisis in Iraq.
"I think the same questions could be asked of those who supported the Iraq War," Paul said in an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press" that aired Sunday. "You know, were they right in their predictions? Were there weapons of mass destruction there? That’s what the war was sold on. Was democracy easily achievable? Was the war won in 2005, when many of these people said it was won? Um... they didn’t really, I think, understand the civil war that would break out."
"Rand Paul, with all due respect, is basically an isolationist," Cheney said. "He doesn't believe we ought to be involved in that part of the world. I think it's absolutely essential. One of the things I worried about 12 years ago and that I worry about today is that there will be another 9/11 attack, and that the next time, it'll be with weapons far deadlier than airline tickets and box cutters."
As he did in his op-ed, Cheney slammed the White House.
"The spread of the terrorist organizations is not recognized by the administration," he said. "The proliferation of nuclear capability and the possibility that it could fall into the hands of terrorists is not really being addressed at all. And I appreciate the problems we've got in Iraq right now."
Paul refused to criticize Obama's handling of the crisis.
"What’s going on now, I don’t blame on President Obama," Paul said. "Has he really got the solution? Maybe there is no solution. But I do blame the Iraq War on the chaos that is in the Middle East. I also blame those who are for the Iraq War for emboldening Iran. These are the same people now who are petrified of what Iran may become, and I understand some of their worry."
But Paul, a possible candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, had some strong words for Clinton, a potential Democratic choice in 2016.
"We will make her answer for Benghazi," Paul said of the former secretary of state. "She will have to explain how she can be commander in chief when she was not responsive to multiple requests for more security in the six months leading up [to the attack]."
Clinton, Paul pointed out, had approved millions in expenditures not related to security in the months before the assault.
"Meet the Press" host David Gregory asked Paul if Benghazi should disqualify Clinton as a candidate.
"I think so," Paul said. "[The] American people want a commander in chief that will send reinforcements, that will defend the country, and that will provide the adequate security. And I think in the moment of need — a long moment, a six-month moment — she wasn’t there."
- Politics & Government
- Rand Paul
- Hillary Clinton
- Dick Cheney
- Barack Obama