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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Chris Stigall talked to Kentucky Senator Rand Paul Friday morning on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT from the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C.

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“My position on foreign policy and the arena of national defense is that it’s the most important thing the federal government does. It is Constitutional. It is, far and away, the thing we are responsible for here in Washington. Anybody who wants to imply that my beliefs are foreign policy or defense are any less strong than theirs really misinterprets both my position and history,” Paul said, reacting to detractors who accuse him of being an isolationist when it comes to world affairs.

On the Russian military incursion into the Crimea region of Ukraine, Paul does not see an armed conflict developing in the region and believes the actions of Vladimir Putin will hurt his country in the long run.

“Almost all factions of the Republican Party, from the most hawkish to the least hawkish, have agreed there isn’t much of a military option here. We should condemn, absolutely and unequivocally, the aggression of Russia by invading a sovereign territory. The biggest mistake [Putin will] make here is an economic one. His stock market has dropped over 10 percent in the last week. Eighty percent of his oil and gas exports traverse Ukraine. I don’t think he can subjugate Ukraine, and I think he attempts it at his own peril,” he said.

Domestically, Paul stated we should be looking at ways to cut our own defense spending based on our defense needs.

“I’m not one who says defense spending has to be four percent of GDP. You shouldn’t start with a number. You need to start with a strategic vision of what you need to defend the country. It could be a lot more or it could be less…We shouldn’t be determining how many troops we have based on a dollar figure…It is the priority of federal government, nothing is more important, but at the same time, I wouldn’t give the Pentagon a blank check,” Paul said.

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