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Cheney, Paul trade criticism over Iraq

BY MICHELE SALCEDOAssociated Press

WASHINGTON - Two prominent Republicans exchanged criticism over U.S. involvement in Iraq on dueling Sunday news shows.

Potential presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., criticized those who pushed the U.S. military invasion in Iraq and are now blaming the Obama administration for the aftermath it is dealing with.

"What's going on now, I don't blame on President Obama," Paul said. "But I do blame the Iraq War on the chaos that is in the Middle East. I also blame those who are for the Iraq War for emboldening Iran. These are the same people now who are petrified of what Iran may become."

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday he was a strong supporter of going into Iraq during the George W. Bush administration and remains so now. Cheney dismissed Paul as an "isolationist" who "doesn't believe we ought to be involved in that part of the world. I think it's absolutely essential."

Cheney says the U.S. needs to be realistic about the threat of Sunni insurgents in Iraq, citing a Rand Corp study that found that the number of jihadist terrorist groups have increased from North Africa to the Mideast.

"I think it's very important to emphasize that the problem we're faced with is a much broader one," Cheney said. "We need an administration to recognize the fact that we've got this huge problem, quit peddling the notion that they got core al-Qaida and therefore there's no problem out there."

Paul spoke on NBC's "Meet the Press," Cheney appeared on ABC's "This Week."

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