Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) argues in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News that he is the best positioned 2016 GOP presidential candidate to beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in a general election face-off.
“I think in order to win these states that President Obama you got to attract independents and consistently in at least five states we’re leading her—in states that were won by President Obama, we win the independent vote,” Paul said. “I think that’s an important feature because people want so badly to have somebody who can beat Hillary Clinton. I think it’s one of our strongest calling cards right now: We’re the only one beating her in all five of these states.”
Paul, who’s polling best against Clinton among the entire Republican field, said he isn’t sure if Bill Clinton—the former president and Hillary’s husband—meant him when he said in an interview with CNN this weekend that he thinks Republicans will “wind up voting [in the primary] for the person they think has the best chance to win” the general.
“You know, I don’t know—far be it from me to know what goes on inside Bill Clinton’s head,” Paul said when asked if he thought Bill Clinton was talking about him.
What I would say is we would say we are the most credible candidate and the polls seem to be indicating that this is true as well. So we will keep trying to get the independent vote because ultimately that’s how the Republican Party is going to have to win these difficult states. Those are really tough states for us, but so are Michigan and Illinois. As Republicans know, I’ve been working very hard to try to attract the African American vote and that’s a big reason why we don’t win a lot of these states is because we haven’t done very will with the African American vote.
Paul also said he thinks what positions him best against Clinton is that his campaign launch—which started in Kentucky and had four more events in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa then Nevada—was presidential.
“I think if you compare the launches of all the different candidates so far I think there would be only candidate so far—and that would be ours—that actually had a launch that was as presidential, as big [as Clinton’s which drew approximately 5,000 people] and in as many places,” Paul said.
We launched our campaign in five states with at least a thousand people at each rally and you saw how it was set up. I think ours was done at a presidential level in terms of the caliber of how we presented our campaign. Our stagecraft—I don’t think anyone else has done that. I’ve seen a couple other people announce on TV, some did a mandatory university convocation. I don’t know if Hillary’s even going to do other places—she only did one right? Is she even going to do other places?
Paul also reacted to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign announcement on Monday by tying him to Clinton.
“I think there is some Bush-Clinton fatigue and I really sense that people are looking for something new—something this century kind of stuff. I think there’s a hunger for something new out there,” Paul said. “I would be surprised really if we end up with a Bush or a Clinton. I will be shocked to tell you the truth.”
Paul, who’s in South Carolina on Monday with his wife Kelley Paul, just arrived after several events with large crowds in Southern California. He drew 900 people in Orange County and 800 in San Diego over the weekend.
Our goal is to prove that the Republican Party should compete in all 50 states. Many Republicans travel to California to raise money. Our goal is to show that we can win in California and compete. I think only a liberty-minded Republican candidate can have a chance. I think it has to be somebody who does not want to put people in jail for 20 years for marijuana, somebody who has a position that they’ll defend your right to privacy and somebody who believes in a reasonable, restrained foreign policy.
I think we line up really well with a lot of folks in California who are maybe disgruntled Republicans or independents or even some Democrats. It will be interesting to see what happens if we get polled in California to see if we do any better than—they don’t tend to poll the primaries out there, it’s not until June so it doesn’t get polled very much.