Kentucky Senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul has fired back at harsh criticism leveled against him by two neocon senators, John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Paul characterized McCain and Graham as lapdogs for Obama’s foreign policy.

“They supported Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya; they supported President Obama’s bombing of Assad; they also support President Obama’s foreign aid to countries that hate us. So if there is anyone who is most opposed to President Obama’s foreign policy, it’s me. People who call loudest to criticize me are great proponents of President Obama’s foreign policy — they just want to do it ten times over,” he said.

On Monday McCain said Paul “just doesn’t understand” the foreign policy agenda of the United States. “He has displayed this kind of naiveté since he came to the Senate.”

In September, however, McCain said he would support Paul if he won the Republican nomination.

“I know that, if he were president or a nominee, I could influence him, particularly some of his views and positions on national security. He trusts me particularly on the military side of things, so I could easily work with him. It wouldn’t be a problem,” he told The New Yorker.

Graham also criticized Paul on Monday. He told Joe Scarborough Rand Paul is “is one step behind leading from behind.”

“So, yes, even Obama is more aggressive. Obama believes you can kill Anwar al Awlaki without getting a court order. Obama believes you can hold unlawful enemy combatants at Gitmo without a criminal trial because this is law of war detention. So Rand Paul is behind Obama, not just Hillary Clinton,” he said.

“My problem with Rand Paul is foreign policy. He’s a libertarian and I come from a more traditional Republican perspective,” Graham said.

Graham aides say the South Carolina senator is positioning himself as a Paul opponent as part of a possible presidential bid.

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