WASHINGTON -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) was so incensed by Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) comments on the Islamic State and Iraq that he issued a statement on official state letterhead calling the presidential candidate "unsuited to be Commander-in-Chief."
During an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday, Paul blamed hawkish elements of the Republican Party for contributing to the situation in Iraq and Syria.
“ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately, and most these arms were snatched up by ISIS," he said.
That prompted Jindal, who has formed an exploratory committee for president that allows him to hire staff and raise funds, to issue a sharply worded rebuke.
"We have men and women in the military who are in the field trying to fight ISIS right now, and Senator Paul is taking the weakest, most liberal Democrat position," Jindal said in the statement.
"It's one thing for Senator Paul to take an outlandish position as a Senator at Washington cocktail parties, but being Commander-in-Chief is an entirely different job. We should all be clear that evil and Radical Islam are at fault for the rise of ISIS, and people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton exacerbate it," he continued.
The governor further denounced Paul's "illogical argument" and called into question his ability to take on America's enemies.
"It has become impossible to imagine a President Paul defeating radical Islam and it's time for the rest of us to say it," he added.
It is puzzling why such a blatant political statement was issued on the governor's official state website. (A spokesman for the governor did not immediately respond to a request for more information.) Other Republican governors with presidential ambitions, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), are careful to separate state business from politics by delivering such broadsides personally via television appearances or by allowing their aides to speak for them.
Jindal may simply be attempting to curry favor with Republican primary voters ahead of the first GOP debate in August. The debate's host, Fox News, recently announced that only the top 10 Republican contenders would be allowed to participate, ranked by their performance in national political polls prior to the debate. At the moment, at least, Jindal stands near dead last.
UPDATE: 2:50 p.m. -- Doug Stafford, Sen. Paul's spokesman and senior adviser, responded to Jindal in a blistering statement Wednesday afternoon.
"It's ironic Gov Jindal would level such a charge when he flip-flops on crucial issues like common core and national security, and he has cratered his own state's economy and budget," Stafford said. "Just last week, Gov. Jindal spoke out in support of Sen. Paul and announced he now opposes the NSA’s illegal and unnecessary domestic bulk data collection, after previously cheerleading for it. As we have seen for the past few weeks, Senator Paul is the only Republican running it seems who is willing to learn from our mistakes in the Middle East in order to keep us safer and stronger. The American people are looking for a candidate who can express a coherent viewpoint, something Gov. Jindal and many other candidates have been unable to do thus far."
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