- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 21, 2014

Cuba has proved to be a major division point between potential Republican presidential candidates Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Rand Paul, and the feud between the two continued to escalate Sunday.

Mr. Rubio, Florida Republican and a Cuban-American, has emerged as a leading critic of President Obama’s decision to repair diplomatic ties with Cuba and normalize relations with the communist island. Mr. Paul, on the other hand, supports the administration’s move; the Kentucky Republican believes greater economic cooperation with the U.S. will help, not hurt, the Cuban people.

In a potential preview of his 2016 strategy, Mr. Rubio on Sunday tried to directly tie Mr. Paul and Mr. Obama on foreign policy — a link that surely is harmful in a GOP primary election.

“First of all, Rand, if he wants to become the chief cheerleader of Obama’s foreign policy, he certainly has a right to do that,” Mr. Rubio said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “I’m going to continue to oppose the Obama-Paul foreign policy on Cuba, because I know it won’t lead to freedom and liberty for the Cuban people, which is my sole interest here.”

On Twitter last week, Mr. Paul accused Mr. Rubio of supporting isolationism on Cuba.

Senator Marco Rubio is acting like an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat. I reject this isolationism,” Mr. Paul said.

Mr. Paul’s office responded in kind Sunday to Mr. Rubio’s allegations, saying the “Rubio-Obama foreign policy” has led to problems across the globe.

“With all due respect, Sen. Marco Rubio was captain of the GOP cheerleading team for Obama’s arming of Syrian rebels, bombing Libya, resulting in a jihadist wonderland, and illegally giving foreign aid to Egypt’s military government. The Rubio-Obama foreign policy has made the Middle East and North Africa less safe,” said Doug Stafford, senior advisor to Mr. Paul.

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