November 8th, 2015
11:13 AM ET

Senator Rand Paul: Clinton, Rubio both 'neoconservatives'

SOTU

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Senator and Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul (R-KY), joined anchor Jake Tapper.

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Paul on Clinton and Rubio: “[TAPPER]:  How do you view Hillary Clinton in terms of her foreign policy views? [PAUL]:  I see her as a neoconservative.  I see her and... I see her and Rubio as being the same person. They both want a no-fly zone.  They both have supported activity in Libya, the war in Libya that toppled Gadhafi, an intervention that made us less safe.  They both have supported pouring arms into the Syrian civil war, a mistake that I think allowed ISIS to grow stronger.  And they both have supported the Iraq War… And, so, many of the big neoconservatives came out of a movement.  They were Democrats mostly.  They were some Marxists and socialists.  But they were people who ultimately came to believe that we needed a big government involved internationally as well.”

Rand on Rubio’s Immigration bill: “[TAPPER]:  Senator Chuck Schumer told CNN this week that Senator Marco Rubio's fingerprints are all over the gang of eight immigration bill and the pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.  Obviously, Senator Rubio has said - he has backed off that - that bill.  Do you think this is going to be, ultimately, a big problem for Senator Rubio, who is rising in the polls a bit?  [PAUL]:  Yes.  And I think it - he was a co-author of the bill.  It was a Rubio bill.  It was a Rubio-Schumer bill.  So, he does have to explain it. I think it will be a big part of things.  But it seems to have been tamped down because so much of the attention has been towards one candidate.  And I think we need to sort of start distributing the argument some, so we can know about all of the candidates and where they stand.”

Paul on medical marijuana and criminal justice reform: “The drug war has disproportionately - not purposefully, but disproportionately been applied to African-Americans, Hispanics, and people who live in poverty. And so Clinton is now coming around.  But she has to explain why she and her husband supported many of these mandatory minimums, where people went to jail for 15 years.  President Obama, to his credit, is starting to correct this.  It's taken him nearly eight years of his presidency. But I do commend him for looking at instances where a young black man has been in jail in - 15 years for crack cocaine, and a young white person got six months or no time in jail.  We really do have a disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine.  And it still exists.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

 

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR:  New details about what might have taken down that plane that exploded 20 minutes after takeoff, killing all 224 people on board, including 25 children.

 

Egyptian authorities now say that a noise was heard on the final seconds of the flight cockpit recorder.  But they say the U.S. and U.K. are not sharing evidence that has led Western officials to suggest there was a bomb on board.

 

To dig deeper on this and other issues, I'm joined by Senator and Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul, who joins us live in studio.

Thanks so much for being here.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Good morning.

TAPPER:  Should the U.S. be sharing more intelligence with the Egyptian authorities?  Apparently, the U.S. did with the Russian authorities.

PAUL:  You know, I don't know the exact answer on that.

I think we do need to be very wary of flights coming in from the Middle East.  And I have long said that we need to spend a lot of time on the manifest, who is on board.  And if we need to delay flights in order to know who is coming, and if we need to delay flights - see, the Russians have quickly made a decision.  You're not flying from Egypt to Russia right now.

 

I think those decisions do need to be very much evaluated, whether or not we do need to delay flights and further evaluate who is coming to the U.S.

 

TAPPER:  How soon do - does the U.S. need to get the manifest of a plane before it is - it lands here?

 

PAUL:  I don't know the exact answer.

 

But I do think that, in advance, we need to have investigated everyone on the plane.  It's the same thing we do here.  I think if you take out the frequent travelers, so if you come from Saudi Arabia every week, and you have been doing it for 20 years and you're a legitimate businessperson, I think we can sort of spend less time.

 

But if it's your first time coming to the U.S., you need to be investigated to make sure that you're not coming here as a threat.  Same way within the U.S.  I think the frequent flyer program is a good one.  It gets the regular businesspeople out of the line, and then you can spend more time on the infrequent traveler, the person that may only be traveling for the first time.

 

TAPPER:  Your foreign policy views are definitely unique among the Republican presidential candidates.

 

Last year, when I interviewed former Vice President Dick Cheney, I asked him who he thought would do better with international relations, you - you were leading polls at the time among Republican candidates - or Hillary Clinton.  And he refused to give me an answer.

 

PAUL:  Yes.

 

Well, you know, Dick Cheney has been wrong about most of the foreign policy of the last several decades.  The last time he was right was when he warned the first George Bush that it would be a mistake, you know, to topple Hussein, because you would have chaos, and you would have instability, and you would destabilize the region, which is exactly what happened after the Iraq War.

TAPPER:  But don't you think there are a lot of Republicans who might be more aligned with Hillary Clinton on her foreign policy views than with you?

PAUL:  Well, it's interesting.

There was a poll not too long ago.  And they asked people, do you align more with John McCain that we should be involved in most foreign wars and very much involved in foreign wars overseas, or do you align more with Rand Paul that we should be less involved?

And I like the way they put it, more or less.  And it was pretty even.  Forty-five percent said they - these were Republicans - they wanted to be more involved in foreign war.  And 41 percent said they agreed with me that we should be less involved in foreign war.

 

TAPPER:  How do you view Hillary Clinton in terms of her foreign policy views?

 

PAUL:  I see her as a neoconservative.  I see her and...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER:  A neoconservative?

PAUL:  I see - I see her and Rubio as being the same person.

They both want a no-fly zone.  They both have supported activity in Libya, the war in Libya that toppled Gadhafi, an intervention that made us less safe.  They both have supported pouring arms into the Syrian civil war, a mistake that I think allowed ISIS to grow stronger.  And they both have supported the Iraq War.

So, I mean, what's the difference?

TAPPER:  So, Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio are the same person and they're - how do you define a neoconservative?

PAUL:  Somebody, a lot of times, who believes in big government, both domestically and internationally.

 

And, so, many of the big neoconservatives came out of a movement.  They were Democrats mostly.  They were some Marxists and socialists.  But they were people who ultimately came to believe that we needed a big government involved internationally as well.

So, a neoconservative often is a big government person for domestic policy and a big government person for internationalism.  And I think, actually, Hillary Clinton fits the bill probably better than any.

But I think she's also the most likely of all the candidates to get us back involved in another war in the Middle East.

TAPPER:  And you have called Libya Hillary's war.

At the time, there was a big push, as I'm sure you remember.  Gadhafi was heading toward Benghazi.  There was going to be a slaughter.  Does - is there not a role for the United States in this world, especially when countries such as France and others are urging us to come on board to stop genocide?

PAUL:  Well, the Constitution has pretty clear instructions.  If you want to get involved with a war, you ask the people, through Congress, and there's a vote.  We either declare war, initiate war, or not.

And, you know, I asked the president this question directly.  He came to our conference.  And I said: "When you ran for office, you said that no president could unilaterally go to war without the approval of Congress, unless there was an imminent danger."

And he said, "Yes, there was, to Benghazi."

And I was - I was horrified by the answer, because I was like, really?  You think an imminent threat to a foreign country, to a foreign city is enough to allow you to act unilaterally?

This is a big deal.  Our founding fathers never intended for a president to act unilaterally, not to mention, in practical purposes, we are less safe because Gadhafi is gone.  Libya is now a failed state.  A third of Libya pledges allegiance to ISIS.

So, I fault Hillary Clinton.  I fault President Obama.  But I also fault the neoconservatives within my party, like Rubio, who have been eager for war in Libya and Syria and Iraq.  And they want a no-fly zone in an airspace where Russia is already flying.

It's a foolhardy notion.  And people really - this is the kind of stepping it up to a debate over who would best be commander in chief that we really need in our country.

TAPPER:  I want to turn to a couple domestic issues, if I could.

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton proposed changing marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II narcotic, so researchers could do more study on the impact of medical marijuana.

 

You have been outspoken about the need for the federal government to kind of back off applying federal law on marijuana.  What is your take on her move?

PAUL:  I think she's recognizing public sentiment.

You know, I have been here for my entire career, wanting to reform criminal justice.  During the Clinton era, the drug laws that Bill Clinton and some Republicans voted for have locked up a generation of young black men in our country.  The drug war has disproportionately - not purposefully, but disproportionately been applied to African-Americans, Hispanics, and people who live in poverty.

And so Clinton is now coming around.  But she has to explain why she and her husband supported many of these mandatory minimums, where people went to jail for 15 years.  President Obama, to his credit, is starting to correct this.  It's taken him nearly eight years of his presidency.

But I do commend him for looking at instances where a young black man has been in jail in - 15 years for crack cocaine, and a young white person got six months or no time in jail.  We really do have a disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine.  And it still exists.

TAPPER:  Senator Chuck Schumer told CNN this week that Senator Marco Rubio's fingerprints are all over the gang of eight immigration bill and the pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Obviously, Senator Rubio has said - he has backed off that - that bill.  Do you think this is going to be, ultimately, a big problem for Senator Rubio, who is rising in the polls a bit?

PAUL:  Yes.  And I think it - he was a co-author of the bill.  It was a Rubio bill.  It was a Rubio-Schumer bill.  So, he does have to explain it.

I think it will be a big part of things.  But it seems to have been tamped down because so much of the attention has been towards one candidate.  And I think we need to sort of start distributing the argument some, so we can know about all of the candidates and where they stand.

TAPPER:  All right.

Senator Rand Paul, thank you so much for being here.  We really appreciate it.

PAUL:  Thank you.

 

###END INTERVIEW###

 

 

 

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