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Rep. Peter King: Would Run to Save the GOP

Image: Rep. Peter King: Would Run to Save the GOP

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Friday, 19 Jul 2013 12:31 PM

Rep. Peter King of New York — who told Newsmax this week he may seek the GOP nomination for president in 2016 — says the major reason he would run is to save the troubled Republican Party.

And the New York congressman took a shot Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and other Republican lawmakers for their “isolationist policies.”

“It bothers me when the leading Republicans out there — someone like Rand Paul seems more concerned about an American being killed in Starbucks by a CIA drone than he is about Islamic terrorism,” King told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“We are the party of Eisenhower and Reagan, which believes in a strong national defense. I’m willing to be out there and be a spokesman.”

He added Paul and Cruz don’t represent solid Republican views on national defense.

“A number of people in the last several months, particularly in New York but also from around the country, were concerned about the lack of a real defense policy and a real defense debate among Republican candidates for president, focusing primarily on Rand Paul and Ted Cruz,” King said.

“We have real national security issues. … We can’t have an isolationist trend, which I think is being pursued by Rand Paul.”

On Thursday, King told Newsmax that he is seriously considering throwing his hat in the ring and that many of his friends and colleagues are encouraging him to do so.

In an interview with Newsmax TV’s Steve Malzberg, King , former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said he was not particularly impressed with how some Republicans are addressing national security.

"It's important for the Republican Party to take a strong posture on this, on defense and homeland security, and not be worried about political correctness," said.

King’s stinging slap at Paul and Cruz is typical of his take-no-prisoners speaking style and signals he is ready to get his hands dirty in going after fellow Republicans if necessary.

If he does declare his candidacy, the bulldoggish Irish-American lawmaker from Long Island, N.Y. enters a potentially crowded field.

Besides Paul and Cruz, other possible GOP contenders for the 2016 nomination include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and cardiologist Dr. Ben Carson.

Earlier this year, King went after several fellow Republican lawmakers after they voted against aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated New York and New Jersey.

“My relationship with Congress will never be the same again,” King said on MSNBC in April.
“When I see these Republicans slapping each other on the back, all the camaraderie, ‘Hey, we’re great friends.’ All I know is that there were people close to dying in my district and nobody gave a damn. That’s not something I’m not going to forget.”

King was particularly critical of Rubio, whose state routinely needs aid for storm damage.

“Guys like Marco Rubio in Florida and all the money your people have gotten in Florida over the years from every hurricane that comes along and this guy has the nerve to vote against money from New York, and they come up here and try to raise money. He can forget it.”

King had earlier ripped Rubio for having “the balls” to fund raise on Wall Street after voting against the Sandy aid bill.

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