New York Rep. Peter King is stepping up his attacks on 2016 GOP hopefuls Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul as he builds on his burgeoning presidential campaign with planned trips to Iowa and South Carolina.

“I don’t want the Republican Party taken over isolationists such as Rand Paul, or people like Ted Cruz who want to shut the government down,” he said while visiting Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.

“I want there to be an alternative voice which I feel is in the tradition of Eisenhower, of Reagan, and you know, traditional Republicans who believe in strong national defense and a role for America in the world,” added the House expert on terrorism and international affairs.

King is considered a darkhorse at best in the race, but that hasn’t stopped him from testing the waters.

“I am definitely taking advantage of the opportunity as my name is mentioned as a presidential candidate to go to states like New Hampshire, ultimately Iowa, South Carolina, to find out what's on people's minds, see what they are thinking about, and if there is an opportunity for me, if something opens, then I will make that decision then,” he said.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at