Ron Paul Booed During Debate

Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo

Republican Presidential Candidate Rep. Ron Paul was booed at last night’s CNN/Tea Party debate while explaining his view on why America was attacked on September 11, 2001.

During the debate, the Texas congressman was asked if he planned to decrease defense spending to balance the budget.

Paul agreed that there is waste to cut, specifically dealing with outdated technology. However he said that a lot more money could be saved if America embraced a policy of non-intervention. He added that the United States is in 130 countries and has 900 bases around the world, and added that “we’re broke.”

Paul then went a step forward, criticizing America’s global presence, especially in the Middle East, as being a catalyst for terrorism.

“We have to be honest with ourselves. What would we do if another country, say, China, did to us what we do to all those countries over there?” Paul asked.

His view of foreign non-intervention received applause from the audience. It was also the subject of his latest Texas Straight Talk column marking the anniversary of 9/11. In it, Paul argues that foreign occupation is the “real motivation behind the September 11 attacks and the vast majority of other instances of suicide terrorism.”

Fellow GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum challenged Paul to explain that article, which he said blames America for 9/11. However when Paul began to cite U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia and America’s policy on Palestine as being the causes of the attacks, the audience booed him. Undaunted, Paul continued to explain his view of why the attacks occurred.

At the end Paul said “Would you be annoyed? If you’re not annoyed, then there’s some problem.”

Opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more generally to U.S. military activity abroad, has been a cornerstone of Paul’s candidacy and sets him apart from the rest of the Republican field.

Paul has a long record of voting against international intervention. He voted against both Iraq wars. He voted against the war in Kosovo and the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 which he called a “declaration of virtual war.” Although he did vote for the use of force and emergency appropriations in Afghanistan after September 11 — he now says he regrets the votes and says the money was misused.