Rand Paul debates Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio at Koch summit

Three Republican senators considered top prospects to fight for the 2016 Republican nomination clashed over foreign policy this weekend at a California panel discussion hosted by the billionaire Republican donors David and Charles Koch.

Kentucky’s Rand Paul, Florida’s Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz of Texas spoke at as part of a panel discussion organized by the Kochs in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Pushing for a restrained – sometimes called “isolationist” – foreign policy, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said Republican presidents have been negotiating successfully with the country’s enemies for decades.

“We should give diplomacy a chance,” he said. “Reagan talked to the Russians.”

But Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas said the failures of the Obama administration will force the next administration to be more muscular in dealing with foreign threats, whether the Islamic State’s rampage or Iran’s budding nuclear program.

The Iranians “are trying to buy as much time as possible to acquire the capability to build a [nuclear] weapon,” Rubio said.

Cruz was simply scornful of the Obama record.

“For six years, we have consistently alienated our friends and we have appeased our enemies,” he said.

 

Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].

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