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Paul Challenges Rubio Over Obama's Cuba Plan

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky trolled Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, his potential rival for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, on Twitter Friday over Rubio's opposition to President Obama's plan to normalize relations with Cuba.  

Paul's twitter-storm comes after the president announced sweeping changes in relations with Cuba Wednesday, including expanding exports, relaxing travel restrictions and renewing diplomatic relations with ambassadors and embassies.

Paul's position puts him at odds with most Republicans, including incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who in a recent interview said he defers to Rubio, a Cuban-American, on the issue, and Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, who torched the move.

The Kentucky Republican, who often gets tagged with the isolationist label by his critics, said Rubio is "acting like an isolationist who wants to retreat to our borders and perhaps build a moat. I reject this isolationism."

Paul drew an analogy with China and Vietnam, which are both communist nations with which the U.S. now has normalized relations. "So why not Cuba?" Paul asked.

Paul also prodded Rubio about the fact that young Cuban-Americans are increasingly supportive of normalizing relations between the two countries.
On Friday, Paul published an op-ed in Time making many of the same points.
"Let’s hope cooler heads will ultimately prevail and we unleash a trade tsunami that washes the Castros once and for all into the sea," Paul said in his op-ed.
Rubio's office didn't respond inquiries seeking comment. But in recent days Rubio has pledged to use every means available to him to unravel Obama's Cuba plan, which he believes will do nothing to bring about free elections and democracy in Cuba.

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