Entries in Sen. Rand Paul (4)


Rand Paul and Bobby Jindal Visit Early Primary States

United States Senate(WASHINGTON) -- It may seem like the 2012 presidential race just ended, but two Republicans stoked speculation that they could be in the running in 2016 when they addressed groups Friday evening in the two earliest of early states: Iowa and New Hampshire.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., addressed the Iowa Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, while Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal headlined a fundraiser for the Republican Senate Majority Committee in Manchester, the campaign committee for the 13-member GOP caucus in the New Hampshire state Senate.

Jindal gave a blunt prescription for a more successful Republican Party, telling the crowd at the Manchester Radisson that he won’t just attack the president and feed the crowd “bright, red meat.” Instead, he focused on “where do we go as a Republican Party.”

“We lost an election that we probably should have won,” Jindal said. “It’s time to get over it. … I think we can win elections by sticking to our principals, but I do think we need to make some changes and I think we need to think seriously about where we go from here.”

Jindal warned the crowd of Republicans to look “forward,” not backwards, and, in a clear reference to Mitt Romney’s failed attempt at the White House, said Republicans must “fight for every single vote, not 53 percent to 47 percent, we need to fight for 100 percent, we need to fight for every single vote."

“We need to have the confidence and we need to have the courage to say our principals, our policies, our beliefs help every American join the middle class, and if we want voters to like us we’ve got to like them first,” Jindal said. “Let the the Democratic Party start dividing people by groups, by subgroups, by special interests. We will have none of that. We view everybody as Americans first, and we are going to treat them like that.”

Jindal spent most of his speech on two topics: improving education in this country with more school choice and charter schools, as well as persuading Republicans to quit the austerity talk and focus on “growth and opportunity” and growing the middle class.

On education, a topic Jindal often talks about in both Louisiana and nationally, he told the audience to “let the dollars follow the child, don’t make the child follow the dollars.” He added that a “bright teacher in the classroom is the single most important thing we can do.”

Jindal also spent part of his address speaking about his family and personal story, noting his father grew up in India with no running water or electricity and was the first person in his family to go to school past the fifth grade.

“We spent too much time last year criticizing the other side without saying what we were going to do instead, without saying what we were for,” he said.

“We allowed them to characterize us instead of saying we stand for the middle class,” Jindal said. “We want everybody to have that American dream that my dad pursued, that your parents and grandparents pursued.”

“This is more than just winning an election,” he said. “This is about winning a very important debate where we go as a country.”

He told those listening to take that into account before they supported future candidates.

“As we decide the candidate we support, the leaders we rally around … I would hope we would rally around those candidates and those leaders who stand for what is right, not just what is popular,” Jindal said.

He did not mention the possibility that he might be included in that group of future candidates.

Paul’s speech focused on two issues he has been closely aligned with recently: the investigation into the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, as well as comprehensive immigration reform.

The Kentucky senator’s Benghazi comments were expected after he took former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to task earlier Friday for her handling of the terrorist attacks. In an op-ed article in the Washington Times, he wrote that Clinton “should never hold high office again,” and he repeated that charge in Cedar Rapids Friday night, earning a huge cheer from the crowd.

“There were a lot of mistakes made at the time,” Paul said. “Maybe at the time, maybe after the time, cover up this and that. But what was always been most important to me is what happened in the six months leading up to this, because there is no excuse in the six months leading up to this when your people on the ground – military people and State Department people – are asking for more help. They are asking for security, they are pleading for security and they got nothing. It was inexcusable, it was a dereliction of duty and it should preclude her from holding higher office.”

When discussing immigration, Paul noted that not everyone in the room would agree with him, including Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who spoke before Paul.

“I am in favor of immigration reform,” Paul said.

He added that he could vote for immigration reform legislation if more border security was added.

“Am I worried a little bit about it? Yes. I’m worried I might offend some people,” Paul told the group of Iowans. “I’m also worried [about] whether it works or not, if it doesn’t work, and the people who vote for it will catch blame for it. But I don’t want to just say I’m voting no and I’m not going to be for it. I do want to try and fix it, because I think there is a problem.”

Like Jindal, Paul said Republicans need to grow the party and be the party of all Americans, adding, “we need to attract the Latino vote. This is a very practical thing and I’m not ashamed to admit it. ”

“We need to attract the African-American vote,” Paul said, noting his appearance at historically black Howard University last month. “We need to change the way we are talking about it and who we are if we want to attract the Latino vote. … We need to treat immigrants with dignity and respect.

“We will get people to consider us as a party,” he said, “but they won’t if we don’t show up.”

Paul reprised many of the themes of a speech he gave in March when he first endorsed comprehensive immigration reform, saying, “If you want to work in our country, I want to find a place for you to work.”

“The people are here and there is a certain sense of de facto amnesty in that they are not going home, and their kids will be voting, and if their kids think we are hostile to them, they are never going to vote for us,” Paul said. “We are an increasingly diverse nation and I think we do need to reach out to people who don’t look like us, who don’t wear the same clothes, aren‘t exactly who we are. We need to reach out."

In a sense, it was a homecoming for Paul. The Iowa GOP leadership is made up of loyalists from his father Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign. After the botched reporting of the 2012 caucus results that initially put Mitt Romney on top, only to be corrected two weeks later with Rick Santorum as the true victor, the old players were out after the cycle, replaced by the top members of Paul’s Iowa team, including the present Iowa GOP chairman A.J. Spiker, who served as vice chairman of Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign.

Both Paul and Jindal, along with Hillary Clinton, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and others are already the subject of speculation as potential presidential contenders in 2016, but as recently as January, Jindal said it was way too soon for speculating.

“Any Republican that’s thinking about running for president in 2016 needs to get his head examined,” Jindal told reporters after delivering a speech at the Republican National Committee winter meeting in January.

In that same speech, he had some tough language for his party.

“We must stop being the stupid party,” he said. “It’s time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults. It’s time for us to articulate our plans and visions for America in real terms. We had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. We’ve had enough of that.”

Jindal mentioned that speech Friday night in New Hampshire, noting his 9-year-old son made him put a dollar in the “bad word jar” after that phrase was heavily covered. He said what he “meant by that that was we’ve got to present thoughtful policy solutions to the American people … not just 30 second solutions.”

Paul will also head to New Hampshire later this month to headline a fundraiser for the state GOP on May 20.

While he is in Iowa this weekend, he is also planning on meeting with the Iowa Federation of Republican Women and attend a fundraiser for Iowa’s Johnson County GOP.

It may be worth noting that, according to Kentucky law, unlike other states, a candidate cannot run for both the U.S. Senate and president of the United States simultaneously, so Paul will have to choose one in the coming years.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rand Paul Reaches Out to Black Voters at Howard University

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul conceded he had a “daunting task” Wednesday when he set out to woo black students at Howard University, and proceeded to tell them that the Republican Party was the party of the civil rights movement.

He won few converts, but he won some respect.

“How did the party that elected the first black U.S. senator, the party that elected the first 20 African-American congressmen become a party that now loses 95 percent of the black vote?” Paul asked the Howard students. “How did the Republican Party, the party of the Great Emancipator, lose the trust and faith of an entire race?  From the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, for a century, most black Americans voted Republican. How did we lose that vote?”

Paul said the story of the “modern civil rights era” is the “history of the Republican Party,” launching into the history of the Republican Party and African-Americans, something specifically suggested in last month’s Republican National Committee “autopsy” report.

Paul is widely believed to be eying a presidential run in 2016. Outreach like the speech at Howard, as well as his embrace of comprehensive immigration reform, only fuels the speculation. He acknowledged that many believe “Republicans are somehow inherently insensitive to minority rights” and he wants to change that.

The last Republican to speak at the school, according to the university, was former RNC chairman Michael Steele in 2009, and before that, in 2004, then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist received an honorary degree. In 1994, Colin Powell gave Howard University’s commencement address. In 2000 George W. Bush declined the invitation to speak and Al Gore spoke instead.

Although the crowd was mostly respectful, with almost everyone thanking Paul for coming during the question-and-answer portion, they were clearly resistant to Paul’s message. Toward the beginning of his remarks, a protester tried to unfurl a banner that read “Howard University Doesn’t Support White Supremacy,” and an awkward moment ensued during the question-and-answer portion when the senator seemed to be giving a history lesson to the students. He asked the group if they knew that the founders of the NAACP were Republicans. The crowd seemed taken aback, with one student even yelling, “We know our history.”

Paul said he didn’t “mean to be insulting,” adding, “I don’t know what you know” and “I’m trying to find out.”

He said he still didn’t think the “general public” knew that fact, and it was up to the GOP to make that argument. Paul noted that it is an “uphill battle for me to try and convince you that we have changed,” but said that’s what he is “trying to do.”

Paul acknowledged his own history with the Civil Rights Act, saying, “Here I am, a guy who once presumed to discuss a section of the Civil Rights Act.” He appeared to be referring to comments he made when he was running for Senate in 2010. During that campaign he did at least two interviews where he said he was against discrimination, but suggested that private businesses should not be forced to abide by the Civil Rights Act. He clarified afterwards that he would not want the act repealed, but he was heavily criticized at the time  and the issue would definitely come up again if he were to run in 2016.

Paul emphasized Thursday that, “No Republican questions or disputes civil rights,” adding, “I have never wavered in my support for civil rights or the Civil Rights Act.”

Paul continued his push to broaden his party, telling the audience that the difference between the two parties is, “Democrats promise equalizing outcomes through unlimited federal assistance,” while his party offers “something that seemed less tangible, the promise of equalizing opportunity through free markets.”

“The Democrat promise is tangible and puts food on the table, but too often doesn’t lead to jobs or meaningful success,” Paul said. He said the country’s current economic troubles including gas prices and the national debt is disproportionately hurting minorities and the poor.

Mitt Romney only received 6 percent of the African-American vote, but he too tried to reach out to black voters, although unsuccessfully. During the 2012 campaign he spoke at the NAACP convention, but he was booed when he said he wanted to repeal President Obama’s health care law.

Paul got a better reception when he spoke about school choice and repealing mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders.

He said “there are countless examples of the benefits of school choice” where children have been able to turn “their lives completely around.”

“Maybe it’s about time we all reassess blind allegiance to ideas that are failing our children,” Paul said. “Republicans are often miscast as uncaring or condemning of kids who make bad choices.  I, for one, plan to change that.”

He noted his work on the issue of drug sentences, saying, “We should not take away anyone’s future over one mistake.”

Paul told a “tale of two young men” from different economic and racial background who both used drugs, before revealing that the story was about former president George W. Bush and President Obama.

“Barack Obama and George Bush were lucky,” Paul said, adding that if either of them had been arrested “neither one of them would have been employable, much less electable.”

He ended his address with a pitch saying he hopes some in the audience “will be open to the Republican message.”

Talking to students after the event revealed some audience members who were pleased that he came to Howard, but reflected the steep climb Rand Paul and the GOP has with African-Americans and other minority voters.

Howard student John Crawford said Paul’s explanation of why black voters historically should be Republicans was “some revisionist history going on,” but he said he does think he will be able to woo some voters “just because he had the courage and integrity to come here.”

“I just hope the next school or conference he goes to, he doesn’t pull a Mitt Romney (and say), ‘If you want free stuff or if you want makers or takers vote for Democrats,’ because I feel like that’s what Mitt Romney did ..and I hope Rand Paul doesn’t pull that because all of the good will Rand Paul got from coming here will be gone.”

Crawford is referring to Romney’s “47 percent” video where he was secretly recorded at a private fundraiser saying 47 percent of Americans are “dependent on the government,” as well as Romney blaming his loss on “gifts” President Obama and Democrats gave to minority voters on a conference call after the election.

Kwanda Trice, a Howard graduate student from Paul’s native Kentucky, asked a question during the event about drug sentences and state hemp laws. She said although she didn’t get a full answer to her question she said she has “to give him props” for coming to Howard.

“This was a hard crowd, but he decided to come here and basically bridge the gap between African Americans and the Republican Party and that says a lot,” Trice said. “To come here to Howard University where students are progressive, they are educated, they know the issues and they know the policies back and forth and to be able to actually face them head on I have to commend him for that.”

Trice added, “Going forward we will see what his actions are.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rand Paul Edges Marco Rubio in CPAC Straw Poll

United States Senate(NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.) -- Could Rand Paul run for president in 2016?

The Kentucky senator emerged as the potential 2016 presidential candidate preferred by the largest share of those who participated in a straw poll at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference. Paul commanded 25 percent of straw poll voters, while another possible GOP contender, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, was close on his heels with 23 percent, according to the results of the survey announced on Sunday.

None of the other Republicans whose names appeared on the straw poll ballot managed to break double digits. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who tried and failed to win the Republican nomination in 2012, finished third with 8 percent of the vote. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was right behind Santorum with 7 percent, followed by last year’s vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, at 6 percent.

Paul’s win comes just over a week after his attention-getting, 13-hour filibuster of CIA director John Brennan's appointment. And it was clear at the gathering this week that Paul was a crowd favorite.

“Now I was told I only get 10 measly minutes. But just in case I brought 13 hours of information,” Paul joked as he opened his remarks to the conference on Thursday, holding large binders in his hands.

Many attendees donned T-shirts and held up signs emblazoned with the slogan, “I Stand With Rand.”

“The GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered. I don’t think we need to name any names here, do  we?” Paul said in his remarks. “The new GOP — the GOP that will win again — will need to embrace liberty in both the economic and personal sphere.”

Like all straw polls, this one was a non-scientific measure of preference. The CPAC poll surveyed 2,930 of the attendees at the three-day annual conference that took place outside Washington, D.C. More than half (52 percent) of those who participated were between the ages of 18 and 25.

Notably, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who spoke to CPAC on Friday night, asked that his name not be included on this year’s straw poll ballot. Twenty-three other names did appear, however, including at least two governors — Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell — who were not invited to address the gathering.

Mitt Romney won the CPAC straw poll in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Ron Paul won in 2010 and 2011. Romney won again in 2012. This year’s poll was sponsored by The Washington Times and conducted by the GOP firm, Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates.

Here’s a rundown of the top 2013 CPAC straw poll finishers:

Ky. Sen. Rand Paul — 25 percent
Fla. Sen. Marco Rubio — 23 percent
Other/Write-in — 14 percent
Former Pa. Sen. Rick Santorum — 8 percent
N.J. Gov. Chris Christie — 7 percent
Wis. Congressman Paul Ryan — 6 percent
Wis. Gov. Scott Walker — 5 percent
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson — 4 percent
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — 4 percent
La. Gov. Bobby Jindal — 3 percent
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — 3 percent
Undecided — 1 percent

2013 CPAC Presidential Straw Poll ballot:
N.H. Sen. Kelly Ayotte
Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson
N.J. Gov. Chris Christie
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
Former Ind. Gov. Mitch Daniels
S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley
La. Gov. Bobby Jindal
Ohio Gov. John Kasich
N.M. Gov. Susana Martinez
Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
Ky. Sen. Rand Paul
Ind. Gov. Mike Pence
Texas Gov. Rick Perry
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman
Fla. Sen. Marco Rubio
Wis. Congressman Paul Ryan
Former Pa. Sen. Rick Santorum
S.C. Sen. Tim Scott
S.D. Sen. John Thune
Wis. Gov. Scott Walker

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rand Paul Says He Didn’t Think Obama’s Views ‘Could Get Any Gayer’

Rand Paul ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Sen. Rand Paul mocked President Obama’s recent support of gay marriage on Friday, saying he didn’t think Obama’s views “could get any gayer.”

“The president recently weighed in on marriage and you know he said his views were evolving on marriage,” the Kentucky Republican said at Iowa’s Faith and Freedom Coalition meeting. “Call me cynical, but I wasn’t sure his views on marriage could get any gayer.”

The comments, which generated laughs, were made two days after Obama announced that he supported same-sex marriage, which he had previously opposed, while adding he thought the issue should be left up to the states to decide.

Paul was encouraging support for his father Ron Paul’s long-shot presidential campaign when the conversation turned to the news of the week.

“He said the biblical golden rule caused him to be for gay marriage,” Paul said. “I’m like what version of the Bible is he reading?”

Paul went on to say that he’s not preaching hateful dogma against people, but added that he didn’t believe people should give up on their traditions.

“Six thousand years of tradition” combined with “anthropological” evidence shows “there’s stability in the family unit,” he said.

“The family is really important and we shouldn’t just give up on it,” he said.

Paul spoke against abortion as well as same-sex marriage.

“I think we’re in a spiritual crisis as a country,” Paul said, “and I think you’re going to need leaders beyond your political leaders.”

Paul had been advertised as the coalition’s “special guest” for its 12th annual meeting of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, a socially conservative group led by former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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