The Cable

Iran Deal Pits GOP’s Old Guard vs. the New

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sen. Rand Paul would have made an Iran deal worse than the one reached by the president, opening a new rift in the GOP's fight over the agreement with Tehran.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) thinks President Barack Obama made a bad deal with Iran. But he says it would have been a lot worse one with of the GOP’s rumored presidential candidates in charge.

“The best deal, I think, comes with a new president. Hillary Clinton would do better. I think everybody on our side, except maybe Rand Paul, could do better,” Graham said on CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday.

It’s a comment that pits the Republican old guard vs. the new. Sen. Paul (R-Ky.) has been criticized for isolationist tendencies when it comes to foreign affairs, and said in 2007 said Iran posed no threat to the United States. And in bashing Paul, Graham even threw some love to the Democratic frontrunner.

His comments are the latest salvo in a war of words between the Senate stalwart and the upstart from Kentucky. Their feud over foreign policy dates back years, with fights over drones and the prison at Guantánamo Bay, and the two have clashed over Graham’s interventionism and Paul isolationism in places like Syria and Iraq. Graham has also bashed Paul, a doctor, for suggesting that vaccines could be harmful to children.

Paul finally commented on the deal Monday, but didn’t say much. His spokesman, Doug Stafford, said it was too early to tell if the accord is a good one. “Senator Paul will be watching closely and believes any deal must make clear Iran cannot acquire a nuclear weapon, allows for full verification and is approved by Congress,” Stafford told Bloomberg.

Paul and Graham do agree on one thing when it comes to Iran: Any deal needs to get approved by Congress.

Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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