Rep. Ron Paul of Texas called one of his Republican presidential-primary rivals a “chicken hawk” Wednesday and taunted his lack of military service.
In an appearance on CNN, the Texan responded to former House Speaker’s Newt Gingrich’s recent claims that his foreign policy platform is “stunningly dangerous.”
After host Soledad O’Brien noted that Mr. Gingrich said he would not support Mr. Paul in November should he be the Republican nominee, Mr. Paul laughed and said he opposes “unconstitutional” wars and putting young people in danger, and then called Mr. Gingrich a personal coward.
“You know when Newt Gingrich was called to service in the 1960s during the Vietnam era, guess what he thought about danger? He chickened out on that and he got a deferment. He didn’t even go. So right now he’s sending these young kids over there to endure the danger,” he said.
“Some people call that a chicken hawk and I think he falls into that category,” Mr. Paul continued.
The Gingrich campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This is not the first time Mr. Paul has used Mr. Gingrich’s 1960s life to criticize his foreign policy. On Dec. 15, he also called out the former speaker, though he didn’t use personal epithets such as “chicken.”
“He supports all the wars in the Middle East a thousand times more than I would. But you know in the 1960s when I was drafted in the military, he got several deferments. He chose not to go. Now he’ll send our kids to war,” Mr. Paul said in a Fox News interview then.
Mr. Paul, after graduating from medical school, served as a surgeon for the Air Force and Air National Guard in the 1960s.
Mr. Gingrich received several student deferments in the 1960s — earning a bachelor’s degree from Emory University in 1965 and a master’s from Tulane in 1968. He also was reportedly judged unsuited for the military for other reasons — flat feet, near-sightedness and being married with children.