strong>ORLANDO, Fla. — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says his recent spat with fellow Sen. Marco Rubio over defense spending is part of a larger debate the Republican presidential field should be eager to engage in.

"There is so much within our government that we could save money with and put to our defense without saying, 'Oh, we're just going to spend a trillion dollars we don't have by borrowing it,'" the GOP hopeful told a crowded room of Republican voters at the 2015 Sunshine Summit.

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"We still have a debate in our party between the Hamiltonians and the Jeffersonians — those of us who believe in limited government, in balanced budgets, who believe that the safety of the country only comes when you spend what comes in and you don't go further into debt," said the libertarian-leaning senator, who considers himself a Jeffersonian.

"This debate goes on [and] this is the debate I think our party needs to have," he added. "We've done it in a polite fashion, but we need to have this."

Paul, who's eighth in the Washington Examiner's presidential power rankings, has kept busy hammering home his message about fiscal responsibility as it relates to defense spending in the days since the fourth Republican debate.

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