Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, on Tuesday acknowledged that should he run for president in 2016, his libertarian-leaning views on foreign policy will be easy for his conservative opponents to distort and over-simplify.
"I'm not talking about all or none" when it comes to intervening abroad, Paul said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council annual meeting in Washington. "That's a caricature, and I will have to fight that, but we'll see what happens."
Conventional wisdom dictates that Paul's more hands-off approach to foreign policy would be a disadvantage in the Republican presidential primaries. Paul, however, said that the branch of the GOP that agrees with him is "not a small movement."
He referenced a Bloomberg/ Des Moines Register poll from October, which showed that 41 percent of Iowa Republican caucus-goers think the U.S. should "pull back current military engagements to be less interventionist in foreign policy, as Rand Paul suggests." The poll found that 45 percent agreed the U.S. should "be quicker to intervene in conflicts overseas, as John McCain suggests."
While he believes in less intervention abroad, Paul said he grew up as a Reagan Republican and holds on to the principles espoused in that era.
"I absolutely support the concept of peace through strength," he said. The senator touted his five-year budget plan that would boost the Defense Department budget will completely eliminating other parts of the federal government.
"If you want a strong defense, fine... but if you're going to run up an $18 billion deficit, you're going to make the country weaker."