At a time in the presidential election cycle when Republican candidates traditionally draw stark distinctions between themselves and their Democratic rivals, Ron Paul is following a different tactic by highlighting a 'nearness of position' between himself and incumbent President Obama. Of course, no one has ever accused the dark horse hopeful of running a conventional campaign.
Paul, when asked to respond to comments made by the president at Tuesday's White House press conference, told CNN that Obama's cautious approach toward war with Iran is closer to his own view than those of fellow GOP contenders.
The “casualness” with which Republican candidates are discussing further military intervention in the Middle East disturbs both the president and the congressman from Texas.
"What's said on the campaign trail, those folks don't have a lot of responsibilities—they're not the commander in chief," Obama said. "When I see the casualness about which some of these folks talk about war, I think about the costs...This is not a game. There's nothing casual about it."
Paul said he was in agreement and that Republican rhetoric toward Iran has turned “dangerous.” However, he was quick to downplay the Iranian nuclear weapons program threat as being “blown way out of proportion”, sentiments that are not shared by the president.
"He certainly is closer to my position than the other candidates, because it -- what the other Republicans are saying is very reckless. I mean to talk about, you know, already now, you know, McCain is advocating, in the Senate, why don't we start dropping bombs on Syria?" Paul told CNN. "And then they're so anxious to go to war. It -- it reminds me so much of our efforts before we went into Iraq, to try to alert the people, look, let's pay attention to what's going on. Let's find the facts."
The twelve-term congressman drew parallels between Republican and Democratic posturing before the Iraq war and the current GOP attitude toward Iran. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, there was no al Qaeda, Paul said.
I think the same thing is going on here. There is no evidence whatsoever that the Iranians have or are on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon, according to our own military people, our own CIA, according to the the U.N.
For Paul, the most immediate threat to American interests around the world isn't a nuclear Iran, its overseas spending on wars and foreign aid.
“The military operation around the world is bankrupting this country. So the greatest threat to us is a financial crisis. And this will enhance the chances of this financial crisis," he said.
Ron Paul's Delegate Situation
Paul had hopes of picking up his first victory on Super Tuesday, but failed to win the majority of popular votes in Alaska, North Dakota and Idaho caucus straw polls, three focuses of his campaign. To his credit, however, the presidential hopeful has racked up 9 second place finishes, more than any other candidate. The Paul camp has high hopes of obtaining a majority of delegates in New Hampshire, Minnesota, Washington, Virginia, Vermont, North Dakota, Maine, Idaho, and Alaska. His third place finishes in Iowa, Nevada, Missouri and Massachusetts will accrue him a sizable chunk of delegates in those states as well, his campaign has predicted.