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Rep. Peter King: 'Isolationist' Republicans Won't Beat Hillary Clinton

Image: Rep. Peter King: 'Isolationist' Republicans Won't Beat Hillary Clinton

By Sandy Fitzgerald   |   Sunday, 21 Jul 2013 09:16 AM

Republicans won't stand a chance at winning the presidency in the next election if they put up the wrong candidate against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Republican Rep. Peter King warned Saturday.

"I think she's very strong on foreign policy, and I think that if we nominate someone from our isolationist wing of the party, she'll destroy them," the New York lawmaker told ABC News, referring to two potential Republican contenders, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Ted Cruz of Texas.

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King has been discussing his own presidential ambitions and comparing them to his boxing skills, saying he is "going to be feeling out the opponents the first two rounds, throwing jabs and jabs and when they're not looking, right cross and it's all over."

Related story: King confirms possible presidential bid

Republican candidates need to participate in "coherent" foreign policy dialogue while avoiding "name calling and pandering to people's fears," King said.

"I like Paul [Ryan], said King, "but as far as defense, Paul hasn't really spoken out. So far, no one is out there talking about national defense. The economy is important, immigration's important, but the fact is if we don't survive as a nation, none of that matters."

King told The New York Times  that he worries about candidates who steer clear of foreign issues.

"It bothers me when the leading Republicans out there, someone like Rand Paul, seem more concerned about an American being killed in Starbucks by a CIA drone than he is about Islamic terrorism,” said King, who is now serving his 11th term in office.

King said he wants to keep the GOP from drifting away from its role as a proponent of having a tough national defense.

"Ever since the days of Eisenhower, Republicans have been the party of strong national defense,” he told The Times. “Right now, the main potential candidates — such as Rand Paul and Ted Cruz — are isolationists who barely mention the threat of Islamic terrorism. I don’t want isolationism to be emblematic of the national Republican Party."

On domestic issues, King also criticized Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, saying he failed to deliver on aid to the Northeast after Superstorm Sandy.

"I have a lot of regard for Sen. Rubio, but I have some hard feelings after what he did, voting against aid to New York,” King told ABC. It "shows some narrowness which I’m not over yet.”

While Clinton has yet to announce her presidential aspirations, she's already considered by many to be the presumptive candidate.

Should she decide to run, her public favorability ratings are already high, with a recent USA Today/Gallup poll posting near-record high-approval numbers with 66 percent of Americans having a favorable view and suggesting she would be a "formidable" candidate should she make another run at the White House

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