Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul have been engaged in a war of words over foreign policy and Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway says establishment Republicans fear that the public is largely on Paul's side in this match-up.
"I like when Republicans strike back at each other because they are supposed to be the pro-competition, pro-free market party and that should extend to its exchange of ideas and its elections," Conway told Ed Berliner on "MidPoint" on Newsmax TV
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The Texas Republican singled out Paul in an opinion piece he wrote
for The Washington Post on Saturday, calling it "disheartening to hear fellow Republicans, such as Sen. Rand Paul, suggest that our nation should ignore what's happening in Iraq." He added that "Paul seems curiously blind."
The Texas governor was responding to an opinion piece the Kentucky Republican wrote in The Wall Street Journal
explaining why he believes the United States should stay out of the situation in Iraq.
Perry said that Obama's policies have "led us to this dangerous point" in Iraq, but that Paul's isolationism "would compound the threat of terrorism even further."
Paul replied in an opinion piece published by Politico saying that Perry mischaracterized his views and that "some of Perry's solutions for the current chaos in Iraq aren't much different from what I've proposed."
However, Paul defended his position and said that Perry was "doubling down on formulas that haven't worked, parroting rhetoric that doesn't make sense and reinforcing petulant attitudes that have cost our nation a great deal."
"Rand Paul did not allow Rick Perry's presumptions that he's an isolationist and charges that he's the wrong way on foreign policy," Conway explained.
"Rand Paul did not allowed it to go unanswered – he went to Politico and wrote an op-ed in response and essentially said look 'I, Rand Paul, believe that the first duty of this nation – of the federal government – is to protect the nation and that includes having armaments, having a well-heeled military," she said.
"What he doesn't support is going back into Iraq – is sending our sons and daughters to war. He says the bar for sending our sons and daughters into war ought to be higher," the founder and president of The Polling Company added.
"If people are going to throw around pejoratives like isolationist, then they ought to reevaluate and listen very closely to Rand Paul," she added.
"I think the fear for many neocons and many establishment Republicans is frankly that the public is more on the Rand Paul side of foreign policy than on their side."
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