(Photo: Reuters / Sean Gardner)
Texas Congressman Ron Paul went on the attack against his GOP presidential rival, Michele Bachmann, claiming that the congresswoman has a bad case of “Islamophobia.”
“She hates Muslims,” Paul said on NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” on Friday. “She wants to go get ‘em.”
The “go get ‘em” phrase was in response to Bachmann’s hardline policy stance against the suspected Iranian nuclear program.
Paul did not elaborate on his claims. However, his comments follow a stark foreign policy disagreement between the two rivals that was displayed on the debate stage the night before.
Paul, a self-proclaimed libertarian and non-interventionist, urged that the U.S. government take a softer, more diplomatic approach to Iran.
Bachmann took issue with Paul’s stance during the Iowa debate, saying he underestimates the threat of Iran.
"I think I have never heard a more dangerous answer for American security than the one that we just heard from Ron Paul," Bachmann said. Her response sparked solid applause from the audience.
Paul’s comments appeared to catch The Tonight Show audience off-guard. Up until now, Paul has been quiet on the personal attacks.
Bachmann is in Iowa today and told ABC News that she rejects Paul’s comments.
“Of course I don’t hate Muslims,” Bachmann said. “That’s an absolutely outrageous statement.”
“With all due respect to my colleague, I think Ron Paul would make a very dangerous president because he doesn’t understand this threat,” Bachmann continued telling ABC.
Paul also commented on the other GOP candidates while on The Tonight Show.
He called Mitt Romney a “nice guy” who should remain as a governor, noted that Newt Gingrich should run for speaker of the House again and said Rick Santorum can’t stop talking about gay people and Muslims.
Paul spent the remainder of his time with Leno discussing his more libertarian views. His nickname, Dr. No, is derived from his opposition for more federal government and regulation.
Leno asked Paul if he was against seatbelt laws.
“I’m in favor of seat belts, not seatbelt laws,” Paul quipped.
Leno then asked Paul who his favorite president was.
President Grover Cleveland, according to Paul, because “he loved to veto bills.”