(NEW YORK) — If you’re a 2016 GOP presidential hopeful, watch out for Rep. Peter King’s right hook.
While discussing his boxing skills with ABC News’ Rick Klein, King, R-N.Y., who has been talking up his potential presidential ambitions, took jabs at other possible 2016 contenders.
“I’m going to be feeling out the opponents the first few rounds, throwing jabs and jabs and, when they’re not looking, right cross and it’s all over,” King said.
He even offered some praise for the Democrat who would be the odds-on frontrunner, provided she decided to run.
King believes the Republicans don’t stand a chance if they put up the wrong candidate against Hillary Clinton.
“I think she’s very strong on foreign policy, and I think that if we nominate someone from our isolationist wing of the party, she’ll destroy them,” King said, putting Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz squarely in the isolationist category.
King also had criticism for another potential Republican 2016 hopeful, Sen. Marco Rubio, R- Fla., who King believed failed to deliver on providing aid to the Northeast in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
“I have a lot of regard for Sen. Rubio, but I have some hard feelings after what he did, voting against aid to New York,” King told ABC News. “[It] shows some narrowness which I’m not over yet.”
That said, King’s issues with the GOP are not only limited to the domestic front. The congressman also thinks Republicans need to participate in a “coherent” foreign policy dialogue and should focus on avoiding “name calling” and “pandering to people’s fears.”
“I like Paul [Ryan],” King said. “But as far as defense, Paul hasn’t really spoken out on defense.”
“So far … no one is out there talking about national defense,” he continued. “The economy’s important, immigration’s important but the fact is if we don’t survive as a nation, none of that matters.”
Without this kind of discussion, King believes Republicans will face an uphill battle, especially if the Democrats nominate Clinton. And he is not alone in thinking that.
On Friday, White House strategist David Axelrod said Clinton would be the most likely Democratic nominee in 2016.
“I think that Hillary Clinton probably will be the candidate,” Axelrod said Friday morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Dylan Byers Sara Murray and Kevin Liptak, CNN
Dylan Byers, CNN
Z. Byron Wolf, CNN