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Rand Paul: My GOP critics on foreign policy are "lapdogs" for Obama

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, speaks at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Summit April 18, 2015 in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Darren McCollester, Getty Images

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul derided Republican critics of his foreign policy as "lap dogs for President Obama" during an interview on Tuesday, launching an early salvo in the war of words that could reverberate through the 2016 Republican presidential primary.

Paul, who recently declared his bid for the White House, was asked on Fox News about remarks from Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, two GOP hawks who have long criticized Paul's non-interventionist approach to global affairs.

Graham, who's weighing a 2016 bid himself, said this week that Paul has been more wrong than right on foreign policy. McCain suggested the Kentucky freshman is "more aligned with Barack Obama's national security policy than certainly any Republican that I know."

Paul turned that same attack back on his critics.

"People who call loudest to criticize me are great proponents of President Obama's foreign policy -- they just want to do it ten times over," he said. "I'm the only one actually standing up and saying the war in Libya was a mistake. The bombing of [Syrian President] Bashar Assad would make ISIS stronger. The arms to the Islamic rebels would make ISIS stronger. So I'm really the one standing up to President Obama. And these people are essentially the lapdogs for President Obama, and I think they're sensitive about that."

"People need to re-examine those who want to be involved with any war," Paul added. "I think we get involved when there's an American interest."