Ron Paul is polling in the top tier of the Republican field in key states like Iowa, but has largely been out of the national conversation that's focused on fleeting moments for other surging candidates. But on Sunday he was put on the defensive for past statements linking U.S. foreign policy to the attacks of 9/11.
The Texas congressman, appearing on CBS' "Face The Nation," contended that he was just stating indisputable fact.
"I think there's an influence. And that's exactly what, you know, the 9/11 commission said. That's what the DOD has said. And that's also what the CIA has said and that's what a lot of researchers have said," he said.
In response to a question from host Bob Schieffer, Paul took issue with the idea that he was saying the attacks were "America's fault."
"We didn't cause it. The average American didn't cause it. But if you have a flawed policy, it may influence it," he said.
Paul said Ronald Reagan "deeply regretted" going into Lebanon after an attack on U.S. Marines.
"The same thing that McNamara said after the Vietnam War. He wrote in his memoirs if we don't learn from our policy, it won't be worth anything," Paul said. "So I'm saying policies have an effect. That's a far cry from blaming America."
Some of the most pointed exchanges at the Republican debates have often been between Paul and one of his rivals over foreign policy. Paul broke with most of the other candidates over the issue of waterboarding at a foreign policy debate in South Carolina last week. He and Rick Santorum, in particular, have clashed over the proper approach to Iran.
"I think the greatest danger now is for us to overreact," he said Sunday. "Iran doesn't have a bomb. There's no proof. There's no new information regardless of this recent report. And for us to overreact and talk about bombing Iran, that's much more dangerous."
Another foreign policy debate is planned in Washington this week.