Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) continued to defend his comments backing a hypothetical drone strike on an armed robber in speaking to The Des Moines Register Wednesday.
The controversy over his remarks "is something that is completely manufactured and created by some left-wing blog," Paul told the Register. "My statement on drones on Neil Cavuto two days ago was exactly the same thing I said during the 13-hour filibuster." He added that he remained opposed to targeted assassinations.
"I never ever said deadly force can't be used to repel deadly force, and I've had extensive conversations about that. So those who’ve spread this around have not really looked through the issue significantly in order to know that my position is exactly the same. There's no change," Paul said.
In fact, Paul's comments to Fox Business host Cavuto on Monday represented a marked shift in tone from his March filibuster decrying the potential use of drones on American soil. "If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 in cash, I don't care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him," he told Cavuto.
Paul, who has said he is considering a run for president in 2016, clarified the comments in a statement on Tuesday. Wednesday's interview with the top paper in Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state, also signaled that Paul did not want to be seen as flip-flopping on the issue that catapulted him into the national spotlight. Though he blamed the controversy on the left, his remarks have drawn outrage from supporters of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). The two men have similar libertarian views, and the son would likely have a huge advantage among his father's notably fervent backers in a GOP primary race.