AUSTIN, Texas — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) slammed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as a “Democrat-light” who’s “almost like Hillary Clinton but not quite,” in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News at the South By Southwest conference.
Paul also laid out his vision for his pathway to victory, should he jump in with a race for the White House as many expect him to—and explained how he plans to build a unique coalition of voters to win the GOP nomination and then the general election.
Paul told Breitbart News:
“We believe that the message of ‘leave me alone’ that forms sort of the ‘leave me alone coalition’ forms this group of people that we think supports the things I’m trying to do is a big enough and broad enough coalition to win in a Republican primary but is also a big enough and broad enough to bring independents and others afterwards. There are two different tactics you could try to do if you want to bring in independents: You could be Democrat-light and run the Jeb Bush campaign that’s uncomfortable with the grassroots of your party and you could run this campaign that’s like ‘I’m almost like Hillary Clinton but not quite’ and then you can get the independents or I think you could run a truly principled campaign as a Constitutional conservative but also still show how the message that big government messes everything up from business to taxes to regulation also can be applied to criminal justice. That big government messes up criminal justice and doesn’t treat people fairly because big government is incompetent. Big government is incapable of feting out justice sometimes because it is too large. So I think there is a possibility, a great possibility, a truly principled Constitutional limited government conservative message, could resonate out to a bigger audience. We try to take it everywhere. We also try to go where Republicans haven’t been going, to the tech community, to historically black colleges, to Berkeley, to places like that with a hope of showing that we can broaden the message. That’s what people will want if we’re the nominee.”
Paul added that what separates him from any other potential presidential candidates is that he’s an all-around, constitutional conservative—and will fight for the whole Bill of Rights, not just part of it.
“I think that there’s going to be a lot of similarities between all the other people but there’s definitely a spot that I think we occupy if we get in this that’s a lot different in the sense that not only am I fiscally conservative—thinking that we should balance the budget and have lower taxes and less regulation—but I’m also a constitutionalist and believe that in issues of war and issues of foreign policy, that these are issues where Congress has a decided role in. Congress’ role is in the initiation of war,” Paul said. “For example, we’ve been back at war for eight months and there’s still been no vote in Congress. Our Founding Fathers very much intended that that decision be in Congress, not be a unilateral decision by the presidency. I think I’m one of the few in the potential field who actually believes that.”
Paul also hammered Bush for his support for Common Core, linking Jeb to his brother former President George W. Bush’s massive expansion of the federal Department of Education under No Child Left Behind.
“While I think there’s a place in our party for moderates like Jeb Bush, I think it’s going to be a much more difficult run for him than he anticipates,” Paul said. “Most of our party believes in decentralization of education and looks at education as a state and local issue, not a federal issue. I think his support for Common Core is going to make it a little bit more difficult. The previous Bush—his brother—doubled the size of the Department of Education, adding in No Child Left Behind which no one likes. No one likes it. Conservatives don’t like [it], and the teachers don’t like No Child Left Behind. I think there’s a growing movement for more local control of schools.”