Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview on Thursday that he is contemplating a run for president in 2016 and that he will likely make an announcement on a decision shortly after the 2014 midterm congressional elections.
“We’ve been thinking about it,” Paul said in a phone interview. “And we will continue to think about it probably until after the 2014 elections. I haven’t made a decision, it’s a big decision you know with regard to family and the extensive travel that’s involved with it. And then also just seeing where the country is going in the next year or two.”
According to a new Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey, Paul leads the pack of potential 2016 GOP candidates in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Paul’s 18 percent in the poll leads New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s 16 percent, 15 percent for former Vice Presidential candidate and House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), 14 percent for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 11 percent for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), 10 percent for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), 6 percent for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, 2 percent for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and 1 percent for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.
Paul shot to the front of the pack in Iowa after Rubio took a five-point nose dive since PPP’s February poll, during which time Rubio has tried to shepherd a plan through Congress that would legalize America’s at least 11 million illegal immigrants before securing the border or fixing immigration law enforcement problems.
Paul has consistently led in New Hampshire as well, PPP notes. Last time PPP polled New Hampshire, he received 28 percent in comparison to Rubio’s 25 percent and Christie’s 14 percent.
Paul told Breitbart News he thinks the reason his popularity with voters is rising is because he is willing to take a stand against the establishment on both sides of the aisle. “I think Republicans are hungry for someone who will stand up to the president, stand up to Hillary Clinton, someone who will stand proudly and boldly for what Republicans should stand for: lower taxes, less regulations, balancing budgets,” Paul said.
And [they’re hungry] also for somebody who will stand up on some of the issues that maybe some of the Republicans haven’t stood up on: the Bill of Rights not just the Second Amendment but the Fourth Amendment that we do have a right to privacy, stand up on things like not sending weapons to Egypt. It’s without a doubt against the law for the president to continue to send aid to Egypt now that there has been a military coup. And there’s no way he can stretch words or slur words or anything, he’s basically thumbing his nose and saying “I’m above the law and the law doesn’t apply to me,” and this is very, very worrisome because we are a nation founded upon laws, and we are supposed to strictly adhere to them. So I think people are hungry and looking for someone who is willing to stand up on these things.
Paul said he thinks the grassroots of America from all parts of the political spectrum are on a different page than Congress and President Barack Obama’s administration. “I think the thing is the real difference is the grassroots Republicans and, really for that matter, grassroots Republicans, Democrats, and Independents are in a much different place than where the Congress is,” Paul said.
“I think I can go to a national Democrat convention or a state Democrat convention and I can tell them what I tell every Republican audience,” he explained. “Not one more penny to countries that are burning our flag. We’ve got needs at home, we need to do some nation-building at home.”
“I’ll get a standing ovation from Democrats, Independents, or Republicans,” Paul claimed. “If I give that speech in the Senate, I’ll get 10 votes, maybe 20 votes. But see, the people up here are out of touch.”
He said while the forces of Washington, D.C. insiders often line up against him, he does not find it difficult to take a stand against the establishment. “I guess for me it’s not [difficult] because it’s what I believe in and also I’ve told people from the very beginning I’m not afraid to be unelected,” Paul said. “I had a good career as a physician and I’m happy to return any time, in fact I miss medicine, but I tell people I’m not afraid to go back if people think I’d do a better job in Kentucky.”
“That’d be fine with me,” he claimed. “And I think many other people who come up here, it’s the best job they’ve ever had, and they’re going to do anything they can do to cling to that job. So, they, and by they I mean in general terms, they become unwilling to take some of the more difficult stands.”
Paul is headed to Nevada this weekend for fundraisers for the state party and for a rally called Freedom Fest with conservative libertarian activists. “I think Nevada sort of has built into its psyche a sort of ‘live and let live’ kind of attitude,” Paul said. “You know, westerners are very independent and they want to be left alone with their land, left alone with their Second Amendment. There are basically who are independent and free-spirited out there.”
“I think it sort of fits right into the mold of the limited government approach, the ‘Leave Me Alone’ coalition folks that I consider myself a part of,” he explained.
While Paul is in Nevada, he has a message for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who hails from the state. “I’m going to tell him that the NSA needs to quit spying on me and leave me alone,” Paul said. “Reid has an enormous amount of power, but what they need to do is really reassess the expectations of privacy of American citizens.”
“It’s not only the NSA,” he claimed. “We’re also talking about the EPA with drones, the FBI with drones, and the question is ‘Are you going to obey the Bill of Rights before you use these incredibly invasive tools? Are you going to ask a judge?'”