COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Republican candidate Ron Paul isn't willing to commit to backing Mitt Romney if the former Massachusetts governor becomes the party's nominee for president.
An anti-war candidate, Paul said he would need more information about Romney's international agenda to make that decision.
"I'd talk to him and see what kind of a foreign policy he is going to have," Paul said at a rally this week in Missouri, which holds Republican caucuses today. "Mitt's a friend and we talk a lot. We just disagree on the issues."
Paul, a Texas congressman from Lake Jackson, has pursued a strategy focused on caucus states, but he trails Romney, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in the presidential race and has yet to win any state that has voted.
Missouri's caucuses today are the first step in a lengthy process of awarding the state's 52 delegates to the Republican National Convention. Paul has earned just 48 delegates, the least of the contenders, compared with Romney's 495 delegates, according to the latest count by The Associated Press.
Paul hit strongly on his anti-war theme while speaking to about 1,000 people at the University of Missouri's flagship campus Thursday. Romney and Santorum also campaigned in Missouri this week.
Of his rivals, Paul said they are "just itching" for war. "The other candidates are saying: 'When are we going to go get Syria? Why don't we start dropping bombs on Syria? When are we going to hit Iran?'" Paul said. "The Republicans are going to be in trouble unless they come our way and decide they want a president who's more for peace than for war."
He later said, "If you keep voting for warmongers, yes, this is going to be very negative."
Romney said last week that he was not prepared to support military action against Syria. Gingrich has also opposed sending U.S. troops or equipment to Syria.
Santorum has said he favors providing military equipment to the Syrian people but stopped short of backing airstrikes.