Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is positioning himself as the GOP's ace Clinton critic.
Speaking to the conservative Americans for Prosperity conference in Dallas Friday, the Republican 2016 hopeful escalated his verbal assault on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's fitness for service, arguing that even her husband, former President Bill Clinton, would have fired her for her handling of the Benghazi attacks.
Launching on an extended attack of Clinton's record, Paul said Clinton had repeatedly minimized the threat to the U.S. consulate in Benghazi before the September 11, 2012 attack and didn't act on calls to increase security at the diplomatic facility. Comparing it to the 42nd president's handling of the Black Hawk Down incident in Somalia, Paul said "If Hillary Clinton worked for Bill Clinton she probably would have been fired."
It was hardly Paul's first volley at Clinton. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed this week the non-interventionist lawmaker said the nation was "lucky" that Clinton's push for President Barack Obama to arm Syrian rebels went unheeded. "Mrs. Clinton was also eager to shoot first in Syria before asking some important questions," he said. Paul has also used the Clintons' treatment of Monica Lewinsky to argue that Democrats are engaging in "hypocrisy" when they suggest Republicans for waging a "war on women."
Paul is betting that he can distinguish himself from a crowded Republican field by proving he has the capacity and the will to take the fight to the powerful Clinton clan, a tactic that reliably draws loud cheers of support from Republican audiences.
Paul also criticized President Barack Obama's statement Thursday that he has yet to develop a strategy for American military airstrikes in Syria.
"If the president has no strategy, maybe it's time for a new president," Paul said.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence addressed the gathering on Friday, with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz slated to speak on Saturday.