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His willingness to entertain a bid, King said, sprang from a concern about the lack of national Republican figures staking out a strong platform on defense issues. That silence, King said, has ceded the conversation to "isolationists" like Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, whose policies would be "very damaging to the Republican Party" and to the country.

"They're the only ones who are talking about foreign policy and they are doing it from a very backward point of view," he said. "Basically they seem more concerned about the CIA killing Americans having a cup of coffee in Starbucks than they are about us being attacked by Islamic terrorists."

Paul and Cruz "could be very damaging to the Republican Party and their policies would be damaging to the country," King said, "And I don't want over the next year, 18 months, two years, for the Republican foreign policy debate to be dominated by people like Sen. Rand Paul."

"I think the party is being defined too much by what I would call isolationists," he explained. "People who don't realize...that we have a real national defense role in the world, that we have an Islamic terrorist enemy which is out to destroy us."