(POLITICO) South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham may still be weighing whether to run for president, but he already has a strategy — distancing himself from fellow senator Rand Paul.

In TV appearances, on the campaign trail, and even in private fundraisers, Graham, an Air Force reservist and one of his party’s most prominent defense hawks, has gone after Paul repeatedly and by name, casting him as weak-kneed and unwilling to protect the country from aggressors.

In interviews, Graham aides said he was laying out a plan to position himself as Paul’s foil, and will repeatedly contrast his foreign policy positions to that of the Kentucky senator’s more isolationist views, especially in debates. They believe that going after Paul — or “putting wood on him,” in the words of one aide — drives attention to Graham and, at a time of rising concern about threats from abroad, helps establish himself as the hawk of the Republican field.

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