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Rand Paul Blames Republican 'Hawks' for Rise of Islamic State

Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks at the Republican Leadership Summit Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Nashua, N.H. (Image source: AP/Jim Cole)

Sen. Rand Paul's Republican presidential rivals are seizing on his comments that the rise of the Islamic State is because of GOP "hawks."

"ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately," Paul (R-Ky.) said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday when asked about criticism from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Paul added: "They created these people. ISIS is all over Libya because these same hawks in my party loved — they loved Hillary Clinton's war in Libya. They just wanted more of it."

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, an expected presidential candidate, called Paul "unsuited" for the presidency because of his comments.

"This is a perfect example of why Senator Paul is unsuited to be commander-in-chief. We have men and women in the military who are in the field trying to fight ISIS right now, and Senator Paul is taking the weakest, most liberal Democrat position," Jindal said.

Paul has already faced criticism from Graham, who is poised to launch his own presidential bid, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who have defended the Patriot Act and were critical of the senator's action last week. Paul spoke on the Senate floor for 10 hours to block a vote on renewal of the Patriot Act.

"It's one thing for Senator Paul to take an outlandish position as a senator at Washington cocktail parties, but being commander-in-chief is an entirely different job," Jindal said.

Christie told Fox and Friends on Wednesday that Paul and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) are siding with fugitive Edward Snowden, who revealed the National Security Agency's bulk data collection.

“He’s a criminal and he’s hiding in Russia, and he’s lecturing to us about the evils of authoritarian government while he lives under the protective umbrella of Vladimir Putin?” Christie said. “That’s who Mike Lee and Rand Paul are siding with? With Edward Snowden? Hey, come on.”

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