Presidential races

GOP group targets Paul on foreign policy

A Republican nonprofit will launch a $1 million national ad campaign attacking Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) as “dangerous” on foreign policy one day after Paul launches a bid for the White House.

The Foundation for a Secure & Prosperous America, a group led by veteran Republican strategist Rick Reed, will begin running the ads on Wednesday in four key early voting states — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — as well as nationally during primetime on the Fox News Channel.

The first ad, called “Sanctions,” accuses Paul of backing President Obama’s negotiations with Iran over the country’s nuclear program.

“The Senate is considering tough new sanctions on Iran,” the ad says. “President Obama says he’ll veto them and Rand Paul is standing with him. Rand Paul supports Obama’s negotiations with Iran and he doesn’t understand the threat.”

The ad features a clip of Paul saying, “It’s ridiculous to think that they’re a threat to our national security.”

“Rand Paul is wrong and dangerous,” the ad concludes. “Tell him to stop siding with Obama because even one Iranian bomb would be a disaster.” 

Paul’s political adviser, Doug Stafford, called the ad “false.”

“The Washington machine is worried that our message is resonating across all 50 states,” Stafford said in a statement. “These attacks are false. Senator Rand Paul has voted for Iran sanctions and continues to believe that Iran should be forbidden from acquiring nuclear weapons. Senator Paul will oppose any deal which does not guarantee Iran giving up its nuclear ambition. Finally, any deal with Iran should be approved by Congress and not exclusively by the Obama administration.” 

The group says the 30-second ads will run 80 to 100 times per day in the early voting states.

The ads coincide with the launch of Paul’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

On Tuesday, Paul will announce from his home state of Kentucky that he intends to seek the White House. He’ll then hit the road for rallies in the carve-out states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

The ads will follow Paul on the road, and are indicative of the hurdles he faces in achieving his stated goal of growing the Republican Party.

Establishment Republicans and foreign policy hawks have assailed Paul for his non-interventionist stances. His candidacy faces deep skepticism, and even hostility from some in the party, who say his “isolationist” views are a threat to national security.

“Those positions do not reflect the concerns of conservatives across the country who rightly fear the threat from a nuclear Iran and an American President that would enable their pursuit of a bomb,” Lisa Boothe, a spokeswoman for the Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America, said in a statement. “Americans need to speak up on these threats to our national security now more than ever, and so we are asking them to tell Senator Paul: don’t trust Obama, don’t trust Iran, and don’t let the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism get their hands on the world’s most dangerous weapons.”


— This report was updated at 9:50 a.m.

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