During the Republican presidential debate Tuesday night, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul let their claws out when arguing about the economy and national security.
Their positions on national security clashed when Rubio affirmed ensuring a strong military despite increased spending, while Rand tarred him for not being a true conservative.
“I know that Rand is a committed isolationist. I’m not,” Rubio said. “I believe the world is a stronger and a better place, and the United States is the strongest military power in the world.”
“Marco! Marco!” Rand exclaimed. “How is it conservative to add a trillion-dollar expenditure for the federal government that you’re not paying for? How is it conservative? How is it conservative to add a trillion dollars in military expenditures? You cannot be a conservative if you’re going to keep promoting new programs you’re not going to pay for.”
Rubio retorted that the American economy would be wiped out if the military didn’t protect it.
“There are radical jihadists in the Middle East beheading people and crucifying Christians. The Chinese taking over the south China Sea,” Rubio said. “Yes, I believe the world is a safer — no, I don’t believe, I know the world is a safer and better place when America is the strongest military power in the world.”
But Rand said economic troubles are more of a threat to the United States than ISIS.
“Can you be a conservative and be liberal on military spending? Can you be for unlimited military spending and say I’m going to make the country safe? We need a safe country, but we spend more on our military than the next ten countries combined,” Rand said. “I want a strong national defense. But I don’t want us bankrupt.”