MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — At least two hundred people packed into a tiny office space in downtown Manchester to hear 2016 GOP presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) bash the “Washington machine” and hammer both parties in Congress for failing to read legislation like Obamatrade before voting on it.
He also touted his big victory this past week against the National Security Agency (NSA) bulk data collection program, and the PATRIOT Act—which he forced to expire. Paul said as the crowd of hundreds—which started arriving more than an hour before the senator came—cheered:
Tonight we’ve got a message, a message for the Washington machine: We’ve come to take our liberty back. Some in Washington say that you have to trade your liberty for security so we had a big grand debate, 10 and a half hours on one day then we came back for a few more hours. Now some in the Washington machine didn’t want me to be there and they didn’t want to be there. They wanted to be on vacation. We caused them to give a little bit of their vacation up to have a very important debate: Can you have your liberty, can you keep your liberty and can you also have security?
Paul recounted several details from his battle against the NSA and then quoted several intellectuals to back up his argument:
We did send a message to the president: The courts told him it was illegal and last week Congress told him, no more, you cannot collect our information. If we want to win again, if we want to be able to win New Hampshire, if we want to win the states we haven’t been winning, the states President Obama that we should be winning—New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado, Pennsylvania—we are the only candidate right now that leads Hillary Clinton in all of those states.
The crowd went wild — even more so as Paul called for term limits in Congress and hammered Congress for not reading legislation — like Obamatrade — as several members of Congress get exposed for supporting Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which would fast-track the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) THAT most of them haven’t read.
Paul’s 2016 opponent Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) voted for Obamatrade without reading TPP’s text—or at least that’s the impression his staff, which has continually refused to answer whether he read TPP before voting to fast-track it while making it a pillar of his foreign policy agenda—nor have many supporters of Obamatrade throughout House GOP leadership. Paul said:
The way we’re doing it is we’re running against the Washington machine. This is the machine that the biggest reform we could probably have that would break the inertia, break the status quo is guess what? They all ought to come home. Let’s have term limits for every single one of them. The other thing we’re going to need is rules. They don’t obey the rules, they don’t read the bills, they don’t obey their own rules. About a year ago we got a bill that was about a thousand pages plopped on our desk with two hours to read it and vote on it. Even the Senate rules say it’s supposed to be 48 hours but when I objected you know what the response was? The response was ‘let’s vote to change the rules for this bill.’ And that’s the problem, that’s the arrogance we have in Washington. The arrogance that they somehow think they’re more important than we are and they don’t really care what our opinion is.
Paul then hammered Republicans and Democrats who continue to funnel U.S. taxpayer money to countries that hate America.
“I introduced an amendment not too long ago in the Foreign Relations Committee that said you know what? Let’s not send money to countries that hate us,” Paul said. “Why send [money to] countries that persecute and kill Christians? There’s actually about 25 countries that actually put Christians to death for apostasy, blasphemy or inter-faith marriage. Now would you want any of your money going to a country that does that?”
“NO! NO! NO!” the crowd shouted resoundingly.
“Of course not. And you know what the vote was? Almost every one of the Republicans and almost every Democrat voted to continue sending your money to countries that hate and persecute Christians,” Paul said.
The room, which was pressure cooker hot from so many people packing inside, emptied out after Paul spoke so he could take photos, sign autographs, and mingle with voters outside.
Paul is here for a two-and-a-half-day swing through the Granite State, as most of the rest of the 2016 field joins Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) in the Hawkeye State for a hog roast cattle call event. It’s typical of Paul to go out on his own, carving his own path while avoiding the cattle calls. On Saturday, Paul will do four separate public events.