Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said that CPAC would be “kind of a difficult crowd” for “moderates” like Jeb Bush on Wednesday’s “Kelly File” on the Fox News Channel.
Asked about the competition he’ll face from Jeb Bush if he runs in 2016 and the attention Bush has received, Paul said “well, being related — when your brother had been president and your father president, that tends to draw some attention. But I think it will be, you know, it’s kind of a difficult crowd out here because it’s going to be the Conservative Political Action Committee. So, we think there will be a lot of friendly faces for us, and there’s definitely a place for moderates, but it may not be quite the same level of enthusiasm for moderates at this conference.”
He further criticized Bush by stating “I think if you talk to young people they’re not very tolerant of hypocrisy, and the fact that Jeb admits that when he was in an elite prep school where very wealthy kids went to school, that he smoked pot, but he’s still willing to put somebody in jail for medical marijuana in Florida, a 75-year-old guy using medical marijuana for multiple sclerosis, I frankly wouldn’t put them in jail. A lot of poor people go to jail for drug offenses, and when Jeb was a very wealthy kid at a very elite school, he used marijuana, but didn’t get caught, didn’t have to go to prison. I think it shows some hypocrisy that’s going to be difficult for young people to understand why we’d put a 65-year-old guy in jail for medical marijuana.”
Paul did say that while he didn’t know a whole lot about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s (R) record, “I like what he did in Wisconsin with fighting to take away excessive power from the unions and give the power back to the workers, and I think there are many things he’s done well.”
Paul also weighed in on ISIS, arguing that Congress should pass a declaration of war, and “we do need boots on the ground, and I’d like to make sure that they’re Arab boots on the ground. I don’t think that ultimately you can command and control a city like Mosul of 1.5 million people that’s primarily Sunni if you’re going to have it occupied by either Shiites or Christians. This coalition has to involve Sunnis, and there need to be Sunni boots on the ground. I’d just as soon have 10,000 Saudi Arabians at the front of every brigade and they need to stand up and say ‘look, we’re going to fight now for civilized Islam’ because, frankly the Saudi Arabians haven’t been very helpful.”
He concluded “I do think that when you look at the first George Bush, I think he was very good at coalition building, and even the second George Bush. Second George Bush brought the war resolutions to Congress before he went to war. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. So, there’s a lot to be said that Republicans have done a better job in the past at leading the country. This president, his uncertainty and indecisiveness has not made him a very good leader.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett