Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says not too much should be read into President Barack Obama's handshake with Cuban President Raul Castro at the funeral of Nelson Mandela.
"It's hard to tell what people [will] do when you're at a funeral. It's sort of like you go up to your political opponent or someone who ran against you who was a communist and you're at a funeral for their mother or for your mother," Paul told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"So, there is something to be said for circumstances of things, whether you shake someone's hands. I really wouldn't try to read too much into a handshake," he said Tuesday.
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But Paul, a Republican, said Obama might want to denounce communist rule in Cuba, although Paul isn't counting on it.
"Obviously communism as an economic system has been a disaster for the Cuban people, and that would be a nice thing to hear from the president's lips sometime," Paul said.
"But I don't think I've heard much pronouncements like that. In fact, I hear mostly that Obamacare's modeling itself after the Cuban healthcare system, which isn't so good for America."
But Paul is willing to cut the president slack in being cordial with Castro.
"Sometimes we make more out of a symbolic thing like a handshake and less out of things that we ought to make a big stew out of," he said.
"The whole idea ought to be is we ought to be talking about how Obamacare is different or the same as Cuban healthcare and why we don't want to go the way Cuba has gone with communism and state ownership and running of virtually every industry."
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