Rand Paul is firing back at Rick Perry's "fictionalized" view of his foreign policy outlook, underscoring a challenge the Kentucky senator will face if he decides to run for president in 2016.
"Apparently his new glasses haven't altered his perception of the world, or allowed him to see it any more clearly," Paul writes in a column for Politico. "There are obviously many important events going on in the world right now, but with 60,000 foreign children streaming across the Texas border, I am surprised Gov. Perry has apparently still found time to mischaracterize and attack my foreign policy."
Paul goes on, defending his view that the United States should not be involved in sending combat troops to Iraq. He writes in Politico:
If refusing to send Americans to die for a country that refuses to defend itself makes one an "isolationist," then perhaps it's time we finally retire that pejorative.
Perry ripped Paul in an op-ed column Friday for The Washington Post, charging his potential rival for the GOP presidential nomination of "isolationism" that would put the United States in danger. Both men are openly considering White House bids in 2016, with Perry striking first by charging that Paul is "curiously blind" to the growing threat from groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
It is the second time Paul has had to defend himself and his views on foreign policy and national security from a possible White House competitor, following a similarly biting exchange with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie last year over warrantless surveillance tactics.
Paul argues that he and Perry share some of the same solutions for dealing with the ongoing crisis in Iraq, including assisting the Iraqi government with intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance sharing and, if necessary, airstrikes to deal with insurgents threatening the country.
One reason for criticizing Paul on his foreign policy is his standing in early presidential polls on the 2016 race. He is consistently at the top or near the top of such polls for the GOP nomination, and his foreign policy views receive scrutiny in part because his father, former congressman Ron Paul, was skewered in the 2012 presidential campaign on these issues from his Republican rivals.