During a Nov. 12 campaign stop in Altoona, Iowa, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky criticized President Barack Obama’s foreign policy in Syria, even referring to the commander in chief as an “idiot” (video below).
The presidential candidate has set himself apart from his rivals on foreign policy, arguing against intervention in world conflicts to instead focus on fiscal conservatism. During the Nov. 9 Fox News Business debate, Paul took Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida to task for his calls for increased military spending, CNN reports.
“How is it conservative to add $1 trillion in military expenditures?" Paul asked, according to CNN. ”You cannot be a conservative if you're going to keep promoting new programs that you're not going to pay for."
Paul went on to criticize Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton for her hawkish foreign policy. He even called his fellow candidates’ call for a no-fly zone in Iraq “something you might hear in junior high,” The Week reports.
Paul’s has now taken aim at Obama’s handling of the Syrian conflict, particularly the recently abandoned $500 million training program that has only produced a few adequately prepped moderate rebel fighters, The Huffington Post reports.
“What kind of idiot sends four people to war?” asked Paul. “If you go to war, you don’t go with underwhelming force, you go to war with overwhelming force.”
Paul then criticized Obama’s lack of consulting Congress when making military decisions.
American Enterprise Institute analyst Norman Ornstein told CNN that attacking Obama on foreign policy has been a popular tactic among Republican presidential candidates.
"The antipathy toward Obama is so great," Ornstein tells CNN. "If Obama's X, you want to be the opposite of X. So if the narrative in almost every case is Obama is getting taken to the cleaners by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, Obama is unable to deal with [Islamic State group], unable to deal with China and you're out there saying I'm not going to do that — that will probably help."
The Kentucky senator then took a swipe at rival candidate Rubio, The Huffington Post reports.
“What's the biggest threat to our national security?" Paul asks. "I think it's our debt ... the difference between Marco and I is he will spend whatever it takes, even if it means we will go further into debt. I think that really endangers us.”