TAMPA, Fla. (JTA) — U.S. Rep. Ron Paul attacked the neoconservative influence in Washington and defended his foreign policy at a rally on the eve of the Republican National Convention.
Paul (R-Texas) told the packed crowd on Sunday at the Sun Dome arena on the University of South Florida campus that Republican leaders have told him that his monetary policies, which center on removing federal financial controls, are popular but that he should change his foreign policy views to be mainstream.
Paul, 76, swore he would not.
"If I didn’t have the same policy that I do have, I don’t believe we would be here tonight," he said to loud cheers.
Paul is the sole candidate remaining from the primaries who has yet to endorse Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is set to receive the nomination this week in Tampa.
The Texan blamed "powerful special interests behind a foreign policy of intervention and the military industrial complex" for recent wars and said "neocons" are "all over the place, and they’re not in one place, they’re in all of the parties."
Paul has been a tough critic of Israel and opposes assistance to the country and foreign assistance in general.
In his speech, Paul said a failure to take into account "blowback" from U.S. policies abroad had made Americans less secure. He said that if his views had prevailed, terrorists would not have attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
The RNC refused to allow him a speaking spot at the convention, although it will present a video tribute.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Paul’s son, who was at the rally and shares his father’s foreign policy outlook, will address the convention on Wednesday.
The convention has been shortened from four days to three because of the likelihood that winds from Tropical Storm Isaac will hit the area on Monday evening.
Jewish events throughout the convention have been unaffected.