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Exclusive — Rep. Curt Clawson: We Need to Get Rand Paul into the White House

NAPLES, Florida — Rep. Curt Clawson (R-FL), a conservative who won a special election last year and was then elected to a full term in the House of Representatives, tells Breitbart News at an event for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) that America needs “more outsiders” like the senator in Washington, D.C., to fight back against special interests.

After an event where Paul spoke to and took questions from grassroots conservatives in Naples, Clawson said:

I think that we need more outsiders that bring real world business experience to our policy discussions. To give you an idea, the world has become a global competitive maelstrom. Too often we lose—Americans, American companies, and the American worker—because Washington doesn’t have a handle on that. So the more folks that have a handle on how economies work and how markets work, the better off we will be. And I think, secondly, a little bit in touch with the average folks—they want to keep their privacy, they want to keep their phone records. So that’s the second thing that an outsider I think brings that real folks outside the beltway are thinking.

Clawson, who took office last summer and has been in Washington for about half a year now, says the “biggest surprise” he’s seen in his time there is how powerful the special interests are here.

“I think that the biggest surprise would be the influence of money and special interests in the process. I think that limiting special interest involvement would get us to a more pure governance. I would say that would be my biggest surprise,” Clawson said. “By doing that, we would vote more towards what’s best for the overall group as opposed to particular constituents or groups that have skin in the game.”

Clawson, during his speech introducing Paul, said that he thinks Paul needs to become the next president of the United States.

“We need folks like this, who come from the outside, who have real life and business experience, understand how government clamps down on us—how it’s taking our liberties by squashing growth and muting the business cycle and killing jobs,” Clawson said in the remarks. “So I will always be loyal to the senator for his friendship and support when it was most needed, but most of all we need to find a way for this man to get into the White House to lead our country back to where it’s supposed to be, which is about liberty and about economic opportunity.”

When asked why he’s supportive of a Paul presidential candidacy, Clawson said he thinks the most important thing is getting a Republican into the White House—but Paul would be the right Republican. Clawson said:

I think the most important thing is that we have a Republican in the White House. What does that mean in a real sense? I hope we don’t kill each other in the primary and weaken whoever wins coming out the other end like we did last time. Having the White House is the most important goal. And then irrespective of who wins, I will do everything I can to support them in the next process, so that’s number one.

I’ve been partial to Rand Paul long before I ever dreamed of being involved in the political process because I think we need more folks in Washington who will make hard choices with respect to spending so that the next generation has a chance of getting a job, and that we understand the marketplace and that is a major driver here. Then the third thing is I respect privacy. Fourth, is it doesn’t get us into bad wars. I’m all for taking on these savages, and we need to take on ISIL, but I think it ought to be Muslim boots on the ground. I think we have a lot of policy areas where we agree.

Clawson also said that the strength of grassroots conservatives all across the country is making the biggest difference in changing the direction of the nation, away from the brink that President Obama has taken it to.

“I’m an example of one of I think many—you would know better than me—of outsiders that won thanks to grassroots support, at least one of my major reasons for the victory,” Clawson said. “So I do think that’s a big deal. But a word of caution: Grassroots support yes, but if that creates division in our party leading to loss in the genera,l I’m hopeful that we’ll avoid that.”

Clawson gave the official Tea Party response to the State of the Union address from Obama this year, and also voted for Sen. Paul—rather than Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)—for Speaker of the House on the first day of the new Congress. When Collier County Republican Party chairman Michael Lyster introduced him to introduce Paul, Lyster praised Clawson’s vote for a Republican alternative to Boehner.

“I’m sure you all have read in the press that there’s a real relationship here,” Lyster said. “Number one, Sen. Paul, we thank you for endorsing him during the election, but then Curt returned the favor by voting for Sen. Paul to Speaker of the House. But the senator wasn’t ready to move to the other wing of the Capitol. He stayed where he was and we’re happy with him.”

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