GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul launched a harsh charge against the Bush administration Thursday night, alleging that it responded to the 9/11 attacks with "glee."
"Think of what happened after 9/11, the minute before there was any assessment, there was glee in the administration because now we can invade Iraq, and so the war drums beat," Paul told a gathering of students in Ames, Iowa, according to Politico. "That's exactly what they’re doing now with Iran."
Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary under Bush, quickly responded in a tweet:
Paul's libertarian bent has long made him something of an agitator and an outlier in the Republican party on the issues of 9/11, terrorism and war.
The Texas congressman made a stir with a blog post he wrote over the summer that argued repeated intervention by the United States was at least partially to blame for the attacks on September 11. He was targeted by rival GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum about this claim at a later debate, and was booed by the audience when he continued to make the same claim.
He furthered this argument last month on CBS' "Face the Nation," blaming a flawed U.S. foreign policy for the terrorist attacks.
During that same appearance, he also cautioned that the U.S. should not pursue extreme action toward Iran without concrete proof.
"I think the greatest danger now is for us to overreact," he said. "Iran doesn't have a bomb. There's no proof. There's no new information regardless of this recent report. And for us to overreact and talk about bombing Iran, that's much more dangerous."