Rep. Peter King says Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are in a "race to the bottom" of the Republican field. King, the Long island Republican who said he'll decided whether to run for president in "next month or so" said the pair appeal to the "lowest common denominator."
"I'd say it's a race to the bottom between Ted Cruz and Rand Paul," said King, asked who the worst Republican candidate was, adding that he judged them on "their policies, and also how they'd do in the general election."
"They both appeal to the lowest common denominator," he said.
King said he was bothered most by Paul's foreign policy.
"Starting with Rand Paul, I would say that — well, you asked me the thing that bothers me the most — I would say that he has this 'blame America' foreign policy, talking about America being an imperial power," said King.
King called the Kentucky senator's filibuster a waste of time.
"I mean, to actually waste 23 hours — I don't know how many hours his filibuster was on the House floor, about drones — I mean, he's really worried about CIA killing an American drinking coffee at Starbucks? You know, the enemy is al-Qaeda, and that to me is just creating unnecessary fears in people, and such a distortion."
"For him to say that Gen. Clapper belongs in jail, with Snowden, and to be saying anything good about Snowden at all — here's a guy who has put so many American lives at risk. And basically, I would say it's this moral equivalency he shows between the CIA and the NSA on the one hand, and the enemies of America on the other hand — to me, this is a Charles Lindbergh isolationism of the 1930s."
Turning to Cruz, Peter King said he was bothered most by Cruz's "irresponsibility" relating to the 2013 government shutdown.
"As for Ted Cruz, I would say it's the irresponsibility, going back to when he brought about the government shutdown in 2013, on the funding of Obamacare," said King. "Somehow he got people in the House to go along with that, then when it came to the Senate he admitted he had no answer to it. So you have the government shut down, there was no way out of it other than to re-open the government, at a loss of revenue to the government."
King added he "no idea" why House Republicans listened to Cruz on shutting down the government.
"People at a — again, causing Republicans, from a political perspective, our numbers dropped so dramatically during that time. And it was all because of him, with this totally false narrative of his that if the House just shut down the government over Obamacare, he'd be able to take care of it in the Senate. And why people listened to him, why they followed him over the cliff, I have no idea."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ilan Ben-Meir is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Ilan Ben-Meir at email@example.com.
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