Rand Paul may have drawn first blood in the War on the War on Obama’s Cuba Policy©, but it’s Marco Rubio who is set to finish this thing with his reputation intact.

Today, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) appeared on ABC’s This Week and nailed fellow Republican and Senate colleague Rand Paul (R-KY) to the wall over Paul’s support for Obama’s plan to open up relations with Cuba.

From Mediaite:

“If he wants to become the chief cheerleader of Obama’s foreign policy, he certainly has a right to do that,” Rubio said on This Week. “I’ll continue to oppose the Obama foreign policy on Cuba because I know it won’t lead to freedom and liberty for the Cuban people, which is my sole interest here.”

Paul and Rubio mixed it up this week after they came out on different sides of Obama’s surprise détente with Cuba. Rubio has been the most vocal opponent of Obama’s normalization of relations with the Castro-run island country, while Paul has suggested this was tantamount to isolationism.

Host George Stephanopoulos asked Rubio he would support Paul if he became the GOP’s 2016 nominee.

“I anticipate supporting whoever the Republican nominee is and I’m pretty confident that the Republican nominee for president will be someone who has a pretty forceful view of America’s role in the world as a defender of democracy and freedom,” Rubio replied.

Watch:


More ABC News Videos | ABC World News

Both men have made what I would characterize as “intemperate” remarks about the other’s approach to Cuba policy. The difference between the two lies in how each handled the other’s jabs. Paul took out his frustrations on Facebook and Twitter, delighting his small (but growing? we shall see) base of libertarian followers, while Rubio held back on social media. Paul has engaged the media and accused his detractors of running on emotion (which may be the most rude nugget to come out of this sausage grinder of a cycle,) but it’s Rubio who has succeeded in dovetailing his responses to Paul with explanations of why Obama’s Cuba policy is a bad call.

Paul claims that this spat has nothing to do with 2016, but I haven’t spoken to a single person who is willing to sign on to that explanation. Answering rude and/or intemperate one-offs with even more rude and intemperate commentary isn’t something you do unless you’re trying to create a media buzz around yourself.

The buzz is there, alright, but it’s not buzzing in favor of anything Rand Paul has to say.