Former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump thanks 'vicious young Socialist Congresswomen' for his poll numbers Will Trump's racist tweets backfire? Democrats fret over Trump cash machine MORE's handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi should "preclude her from holding higher office," according to Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate ratifies long-stalled tax treaty On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses The buck stops here: How to restore accountability to the federal regulatory system MORE (R-Ky.).

Paul told a crowd of supporters in Iowa on Friday that any presidential ambitions Clinton might have in 2016 should be stymied by the administration's response to the Libya attack.

"First question to Hillary Clinton: Where in the hell were the Marines?" he said, according to NBC News. "It was inexcusable, it was a dereliction of duty, and it should preclude her from holding higher office."


The administration has come under heavy criticism from Republicans for how it handled the attack, which left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. In particular, Republicans have questioned whether the administration provided enough security and support to the embassy, and also how the attack was initially characterized afterwards.

Paul has not been shy about discussing his own interest in mounting a presidential run in 2016, and his appearance before the Iowa crowd carried heavy campaign undertones, as he spoke at the Iowa GOP's annual Lincoln Dinner.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) spoke before Paul at the dinner. "The process of selecting the next leader of the free world begins in Iowa, and it's already begun," he said.

In his remarks, Paul said there was a "chance" he could vote for a comprehensive immigration reform package currently working its way through the Senate. He added that the Republican Party needs to find a way to make inroads into demographics where they have not found much success — young voters, Latinos and African-Americans.

"We're an increasingly diverse nation, and I think we do need to reach out to other people that aren't like us, don't look like us, don't wear the same clothes, that aren't exactly who we are," he said. "We're going to have to do something."