Paul slams Gingrich for lack of military service

Texas Rep. Ron Paul

Texas Rep. Ron Paul slammed Republican rival Newt Gingrich for his eagerness to send American troops into harm's way even though he avoided service in Vietnam as a young man.

In an interview with Fox News, the former flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force told host Megyn Kelly that the former House speaker is as "aggressive with the military as anybody."

"He supports all of the wars in the Middle East, a thousand times more than I would, but you know in the 1960s when I was drafted in the military he got several deferments. He chose not to go. Now he will send our kids to war. But at that time he said that one person wouldn't make a difference. He didn't know how he could make a difference. So I see that as important information. People should know that. And it reflects on him," Paul said of Gingrich.

Dr. Paul, as his supporters refer to him, served as a flight surgeon in the U.S Air Force in the 1960s. He is a longtime outspoken critic of both the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Gingrich is the son of a career Army officer, and during the 1960s studied history at Emory College, before earning his doctorate from Tulane University.

The attack is just the latest jab at Gingrich from Paul. Paul earlier accused Gingrich of "serial hypocrisy" in a campaign ad in Iowa, noting that he collected fees from mortgage giant Freddie Mac and healthcare industry. Another Paul ad called Gingrich a career politician who sold access to politicians to enrich himself. Paul denied that running these ads constitutes negative campaigning, saying "negative campaign is calling people names, demagoguing issues and misrepresenting people's views. But pointing out different positions, that is my responsibility."

Gingrich, for his part, has vowed to run a positive campaign, pledging not to attack other candidates.

"I'm, frankly, taking the gamble that the American people care about actually solving our country's problems, not just watching politicians beat each other up," Gingrich told reporters in Iowa yesterday.

Real Clear Politics' poll average shows Gingrich leading in Iowa with 27.2 percent. Romney is in second place with 18 percent and Paul is in third with 16.7 percent, 19 days before the first voters make their choice.