Republicans Ron Paul and Herman Cain 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Steve Marcus)
WASHINGTON -- US Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain pushed back against a proposal by Ron Paul to cut funding to Israel.
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Paul, a Texas congressman, during the GOP debate Tuesday in Las Vegas repeated his proposal to cut foreign aid, including the $3 billion Israel receives annually in defense assistance.
"That foreign aid makes Israel dependent on us," he said. "It softens them for their own economy. And they should have their sovereignty back, they should be able to deal with their neighbors at their own will."
Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, and Cain, a businessman, pushed back.
"We should not be cutting foreign aid to Israel," Bachmann said. "Israel
is our greatest ally. The biggest problem with this administration and
foreign policy is that [US President Barack] Obama is the first
president since Israel declared her sovereignty who put daylight between
the United States and Israel. That’s heavily contributed to the current
hostilities that we see in the Middle East region."
Cain said, "If we clarify who our friends are, clarify who our enemies
are, and stop giving money to our enemies, then we ought to continue to
give money to our friends, like Israel."
The debate was sponsored by CNN and the Western Republican Leadership Conference.
A Las Vegas focus group of likely GOP voters conducted on the eve of the
debate by The Israel Project found unanimous support for continuing aid
levels to Israel.