The big difference between Marco Rubio and Rand Paul

The one area where they appear to be on different pages, though, is on issues of intervention. While Paul is very much straddling the line between his father’s brand of libertarian non-interventionism and a more pragmatic foreign policy, Rubio is carving out ground between the GOP’s recent interventionism and that same pragmatism.

Rubio in the past has allied with foreign policy hawks Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on Syria and more recently has pushed for arming the Syrian rebels and military action against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. None of those are things you’ll see anytime soon from Paul, who has openly feuded with McCain and Graham over national security issues.

Judging by the receptions each man received Thursday, both messages have appeal to Christian conservatives. And that shouldn’t be too surprising; after all, Iowa was one of Ron Paul’s best states in the 2012 presidential race, which suggests there are plenty of libertarian-minded Republicans in the Hawkeye State.