Rand Paul for president? Why else is he in Iowa? (+video)
US Sen. Rand Paul is making a splash in Iowa this weekend, and he'll soon visit New Hampshire and South Carolina. Can the libertarian-tinged maverick Republican successfully run for president?
He hasn’t announced it as such, but Sen. Rand Paul is taking major steps to launch a 2016 presidential bid.Skip to next paragraph
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Like his father before him – retired US Rep. Ron Paul (R) of Texas, who ran for the White House three times – Sen. Paul of Kentucky leans libertarian, which raises two important questions about his future:
Can he generate the enthusiastic, loyal following his father did over the years – mostly younger idealists geared to flood the primary/caucus season?
And will more traditional Republicans – however you want to define a “traditional” GOP these days – come to accept his position on things like immigration, gay marriage, and national security?
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“He’s the most fascinating guy in politics today in America,” David Carney, a New Hampshire-based Republican strategist, told nky.com, a Gannett online news site for northern Kentucky. “But on widespread appeal, I think the jury’s out.”
The way Paul sees it, "People are looking for something different.”
“You might accuse me of being not exactly the traditional cookie-cutter Republican," he told reporters Friday during a string of political events in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "I do know the GOP needs to grow and I want to be part of growing the GOP."
"We need to have a Republican Party that looks like the rest of America. We need a more inclusive, diverse party," he said. "We cannot compete unless we are going to go out and say to African-Americans, we want you in our party."
For instance, Paul favors relaxing federal sentencing laws for drug crimes, which disproportionately penalize racial minorities.
He’s also against a federal ban on same-sex marriage. Personally, he thinks “marriage” means one man and one woman. But he’d leave it up to the states to set their own laws and regulations – which does not sit well with many social conservatives in the Republican Party.