Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is attempting to cement his status as a top-tier candidate with another trip through Iowa, just before Christmas.
The latest polls in Iowa have Paul either leading or in a dead heat with Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. Before a crowd of more than 250 in Dubuque earlier today, Paul answered critics of his foreign policy views.
“Isolationism is when you put up trade barriers and you put on sanctions. The people who make the charges toward me that I’m an isolationist are the ones who always want to put sanctions on countries and stir up trouble and they’re the ones who don’t even want to open up conversations with Cuba,” Paul said, drawing applause when he added: “I think it’s time that we traded (with) and traveled to Cuba. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Paul advocates eliminating all foreign aid and closing overseas military bases, and he promises to expand U.S. diplomatic efforts around the globe.
“If you suggest that we talk to a country that might not even have a weapon, that can’t even hardly feed their people and arguing they’re going to attack us pretty soon, I mean there’s something wrong,” Paul said in Dubuque. “There’s something wrong with the advice of at least talking to people. We have 12,000 diplomats in our government. I sugguest we start using our diplomats and do a little bit of diplomacy once in a while.”
On Wednesday, Paul walked out of a CNN interview after being asked questions about newsletters sent out under his name in the 1990s, some of which had racist content. Paul has said he did not write or read the letters and he told CNN he has “disavowed” them. One newsletter, from the early ’90s, suggested rioting in Los Angeles had ended when it was time “for blacks to pick up their welfare checks.”