As Rand Paul prepares to announce his run for the Republican nomination for president, his foes representing the neoconservative wing of the Grand Old Party are scrambling in an effort to hamstring his charge to the White House. Bloomberg is reporting that Rick Reed, head of 501(c)(4) group The Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America, just released a television ad, seen above, which aims to portray Senator Paul as weak on foreign policy. The commercial, which features a mushroom cloud from a nuclear attack, seems to imply that a Rand Paul presidency would lead to a near-future in which Iran suddenly obtains intercontinental ballistic missile technology, develops a nuclear warhead, and unleashes a nuclear attack.
Said Reed in comments to Bloomberg, “Paul supports more negotiations with Iran while standing against more sanctions that would hold the Iranian regime accountable. That’s not a conservative position, that’s Obama’s position… His longstanding position on Iran and his agreement with Obama on Iran calls into question his judgment.”
Rick Reed’s bio on Townhall notes that he has “written and produced the advertising for Senator Lindsey Graham (SC).” Graham, a foreign policy hawk, said on Sunday’s episode of CBS News‘ Face the Nation that “everybody on our side, except maybe Rand Paul, could do better” than Obama at dealing with Iran. Reed made waves in 2004 as the architect of the “Swiftboat Veterans for Truth” ad campaign that challenged Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s Vietnam War service record in an effort to oppose his candidacy.
Paul spokesman Doug Stafford described the Senator’s position on Iran in comments to Bloomberg, “Senator Paul will be watching closely and believes any deal must make clear Iran cannot acquire a nuclear weapon, allows for full verification and is approved by Congress. He voted for sanctions both times they were put before Congress and believes only Congress should remove those sanctions.”
On February 26, US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that Iran currently has no nuclear weapons program and that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomenei ended the nation’s nuclear weapons program in 2003. He said that Iran “wants to preserve options across the capabilities it would take to build [a nuclear weapon], but right now they don’t have one, and have not made that decision.”
Update May 8, 3:20 PM: The above-embedded video has since been taken down by YouTube, apparently due to a copyright claim by Ron Paul supporter Gage Skidmore.