Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian-leaning presidential candidate often chided by his GOP opponents for his views on U.S. foreign policy, came out swinging this morning; calling out the president and his rivals for their "very dangerous" positions on Iran.
"… the war drums are beating and I think that is very dangerous," Paul said this morning to a room of 50 people in Webster City, Iowa.
Paul, who has been an outspoken critic of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, warned of the dangers of starting another war with Iran over a suspected nuclear weapons program. The Texas congressman said there is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapon or is on the verge of developing one.
Paul singled out his GOP rivals for contributing to what he called "war propaganda" for their aggressive posture toward Iran. He also chided Obama for his speech Thursday in which he said that nothing was off the table in dealing with the nation.
"Which means, that you know, nothing off the table means military, bombing and actually nuclear first strikes," Paul said.
Paul added that diplomacy has been taken off the table in solving the situation and what was needed in Washington was a policy of "minding our own business," he said.
Despite talking for great length on the issue, Paul's foreign policy views are apparently one of his greatest weaknesses. Almost half of all respondents said Paul's foreign policy views were a major reason to reject him, according to the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll.
And an uneasy embrace was evident at today's event when Paul took a question from a member of the audience who urged him to "tell everyone that you love Israel."
Paul reiterated his view that he's actually protecting Israel's sovereignty and that the nation doesn't need U.S. foreign aid.
The Paul campaign has been picking up steam. The latest ABC News-Washington Post poll of potential voters in Iowa and New Hampshire show him in second or third place in the early-primary states.
To continue building momentum, the campaign set its sights on new national front-runner Newt Gingrich by going after the anti-Washington, anti-establishment voters.
A member of the audience asked Paul on his view regarding the National Defense Authorization Act, which would permit the indefinite military detention of U.S. citizens without charges or a trial.
Paul used the exchange to draw the sharpest contrast to his rivals, calling the bill "the most serious thing going on right now" and comparing it to the policies of Nazi Germany. He predicted that the battlefield for terrorism will be every place and any place in this country, warning that anyone could be jailed indefinitely by just being associated with Muslims.
"The monetary issue and the war issue - is a big deal - but this one is probably hitting home more," Paul said.