Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has accused fellow Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann of "hating" Muslims. Paul made this comment on Leno's show on Friday when he was asked to comment on each of the Republican candidates.
Paul also said former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum doesn't like "gay people and Muslims."
According to Ron Paul, speaking on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on Friday, Bachmann supports attack on Iran because she hates Muslims. CBN News reports that when host Jay Leno asked what he thought of his GOP rivals, Paul commenting on Bachmann slowed his voice and said: “She doesn’t like Muslims, she hates them, she wants to go get ‘em.”
Bachmann, at a campaign stop in Iowa, responded, saying: "Of course I don't hate Muslims. That's an absolutely outrageous statement. What I love are Americans and the American people."
Observers see Paul's statement in the context of the debate between both candidates on Thursday night in which they had a heated exchange over Iran's nuclear program. Paul expressed his disbelief in the widely made claim that Iran is "within months" of developing a nuclear weapon. Paul strongly criticized U.S. sanctions against Iran as an "act of war."
Paul is well known as a non-interventionist and the views he expressed on Thursday night's debate were consistent with his political philosophy. Bachmann, during the debate, had strongly criticized Ron Paul, describing his position on Iran as dangerous. Bachmann said: "I think I have never heard a more dangerous answer for American security than the one that we just heard from Ron Paul." She received a wide applause for her retort.
As far as Bachman was concerned, U.S. should take seriously the part of the Iranian Constitution that said Iran's mission is "to extend jihad across the world and eventually to set up a worldwide caliphate." Bachmann said: "We would be fools and knaves to ignore their purpose and their plan."
But Paul replied, saying that he also did not want to see Iran with a nuclear weapon, but he said Bachmann's view of the Muslim world was biased. Paul said: "To declare war on 1.2 billion Muslims and say all Muslims are the same, this is dangerous talk. Yeah, there are some radicals, but they don't come here to kill us because we're free and prosperous."
In Bachmann's view, the "true hatred" was from the President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran who has been widely quoted as saying: Israel "must be wiped out from the map of the world."
Bachman went on to say: "As Commander-in-Chief I will stand for the safety and security of the American people. I think, quite frankly, with all due respect to my colleague, that Ron Paul would make a very dangerous president because he doesn't understand this threat."
CNN reports that when Paul was asked on Friday about former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, he said Santorum does not like "gay people and Muslims." His comment on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was that they should both return to their former jobs.
ABC News reports Paul also spoke on his libertarian ideas. Paul said he supported getting rid of federal drug laws in favor of state regulations because the federal government should protect people's right to "do with our own body what we want.” When Leno pointed out that Paul drew support mostly from young people, he answered: “Young people are principled....after a while you get mixed up.”