Ron Paul, long a darling of such gatherings such as the one in Tampa on Monday, was roundly booed during the CNN/Tea Party debate for suggesting that American foreign policy helped contribute to the Sept. 11 attacks.
Paul was upbraided by former Sen. Rick Santorum, long a hawk on taking on radical Islam on a global scale.
“You said that it was our actions that brought about the actions of 9/11,” Santorum said. “Congressman Paul, that is irresponsible.”
Paul, an unapologetic isolationist, defended his views, and said that Santorum’s contention that the country was attacked by Al Qaeda because the terrorist organization resented America’s position in the world was wrong.
“This idea that whole Muslim world is attacking us because we’re free and prosperous, that is just not true,” Paul said.
Many in the crowd began to boo and hiss, drowning out Paul as he attempted to explain Muslim sympathies for the plight of the Palestinians.
The back-and-forth was notable in another way. The CNN debate gave time to candidates who frequently have received less screen time in past debates, such as Paul, Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, and Jon Huntsman Jr.
But sometimes a greater chance to speak your piece, as Paul was reminded, can be too much of a good thing. Or as Huntsman, who earlier confounded many viewing the debate by bringing up the name of the late rocker Kurt Cobain, might say, this time around, time was not on his side.