The junior senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul is the heir to his father’s political franchise. And now that Ron Paul, former congressman from Texas and three-time presidential candidate, has retired from politics, Senator Paul has quickly filled in the void.
Among Republican voters, Paul is tied with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 15.3 percent for the lead in the prospective Republican field, RealClearPolitics.com reports on Nov. 12, 2013. He has emerged as a leading voice for libertarianism within the Republican Party, conducting a headline-grabbing filibuster against drones and floating the idea of a US Supreme Court challenge to government surveillance of phone records. Paul is also a tea party favorite.
But in late October, Paul hit a serious bump over charges of plagiarism in his speeches and other writings. He has admitted “mistakes” and promised to use footnotes, but his defiant response has raised questions about his ability to withstand the pressure cooker of a presidential campaign and the presidency itself.
Before the plagiarism flap, Paul was a hard-charger for his point of view. He went after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on foreign policy, arguing a more isolationist approach. Paul also defends the October government shutdown, which aimed to derail implementation of Obamacare.
At times, Paul plays nice with the Republican establishment. He is supporting the senior senator from Kentucky, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, against a tea party challenge for the Republican nomination for the seat.
In September, Paul said he’s considering a presidential run, and would make up his mind in about a year. Earlier, he laid out what his appeal might look like.
“I’m the kind of candidate, if I were to be a national candidate, that would be someone that says, ‘You know, young people, Republicans, we will protect your privacy, we do care about the Internet, we do want to promote a less aggressive foreign policy – a strong national defense, but a less aggressive foreign policy,' ” Paul said July 31 on New Hampshire radio station WGIR-AM.