RALEIGH, North Carolina — At a campaign stop here, at which Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) gave him his endorsement, North Carolina’s GOP Senate nominee Thom Tillis ripped President Barack Obama and incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan for security failures, arguing that if Obama can’t keep intruders out of the White House, how can he secure the country?
Tillis told a reporter as he walked around inside Big Ed’s City Market, a diner downtown, shaking hands and taking pictures:
If you take a look at [it], we need to protect the president. Whether I disagree with his policies or not, when you can’t do something as basic as making sure no one walks into the White House–I mean, it’s just another example of a failure. I think you turn around and really I guess gloss over the fact that this is not the first time that it’s happened. It’s another example of failure in this administration, and they need to start getting serious about homeland security and about national security. They’ve failed on that front, and Kay Hagan has rubber-stamped it every step of the way.
When Tillis and Paul stood up in the back of the restaurant shortly thereafter so Paul could formally endorse Tillis, the North Carolina House Speaker honed in even further on immigration and national security failures–among others–by President Barack Obama and the political class in Washington.
Tillis finally zeroing in on these issues represents a remarkable shift in the Republican Party, as candidates from Scott Brown in New Hamsphire to Terri Lynn Land in Michigan have learned that running against amnesty is a boon–after just last year the GOP seemed ready to dive in on amnesty when 14 GOP senators voted for the “Gang of Eight” bill.
“The Middle East situation is unacceptable,” Tillis said, noting that Obama called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) the “jayvee team just a few months ago.”
“They’re delaying a lot of really bad policies until after the election–he’s delaying the discussion for the decision on amnesty until after the election,” Tillis added later.
“We’ve got a senator who sits on important committees who should be developing strategies but has no plan,” Tillis said. “Kay Hagan has failed the people of North Carolina, and that’s why we’ve got to send her home and fire Harry Reid as the Majority Leader.”
The event was bittersweet for both Paul and Tillis, as Paul had endorsed the libertarian-leaning Greg Brannon in the primary against Tillis. But both stood shoulder-to-shoulder throughout in a disciplined manner and hammered Hagan, Obama, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Tillis said:
I got to tell you it’s an honor to have Sen. Paul in town. It’s an honor to get the support that I have from the broad spectrum of Congress members in the Republican Senate caucus. Sen. Paul is fighting tirelessly for our freedom. He’s an independent thinker, and I love independent thinkers, people that will go to Washington and expect nothing more than accountability and ultimately the freedom that we have to give back to the American people and take out of the hands of the federal government. This man is one of the lions of the Senate responsible for that. I’m proud to have him in North Carolina and I’m proud to have his support.
“I’m happy to be in North Carolina today and endorse my friend Thom Tillis for the U.S. Senate,” Paul said when he took the stage. “As some of you know, I spent several years here, and I did my medical training over in Durham at the university, and as a physician it bothers me that we have senators like Kay Hagan who frankly don’t think you’re smart enough to choose your own doctor, the arrogance of passing legislation that says she knows better who can choose.”
When both were asked later, when they took just two questions from the 20 or more reporters in the restaurant about Paul’s previous endorsement of Brannon, a libertarian candidate who could hurt Tillis on election day, Paul said, “there are many libertarian ideas that are Republican ideas.”
“Lower taxes, constitutional limited government, a balanced budget, personal liberty,” Paul rattled them off. “I think Thom represents those ideas and I’d like to let Thom respond to that now.” Tillis then said:
The reason that we want any Senate member of the Republican caucus here is to demonstrate broad support we have for this campaign and the belief that Kay Hagan has failed the people of North Carolina. We all share that belief, because they see her take votes that are inconsistent with where the nation wants to go and certainly where the state wants to go. I welcome any member of the Senate caucus to come here. I’m thrilled to have the broad support that I do, because that’s how we’ve got things done in Raleigh over the last three and a half years. We had a broad base of people in the caucus and we had Democrats joining with us on veto overrides against the Democrat governor. That’s actually governing, unlike what Harry Reid does, who takes 350 bills coming out of the House and then does nothing with them in the Senate.
Whizzing through the tables covered with red-and-white checkered tablecloths on which breakfast was still being served to patrons around 10:30 a.m. before the two made remarks, Paul was swarmed with people seeking pictures with and autographs from him. Tillis certainly got his fair share of attention too, but one observer joked to him: “Looks like Rand Paul is stealing your spotlight!”
“That’s why he’s here isn’t it?” Tillis responded, adding that he’s glad to have Paul’s support.
A veteran wearing a USS Topeka hat for the submarine the USS Topeka shook Paul’s hand and said he’s supporting Tillis. “Thanks for your support of Thom Tillis,” Paul said to the veteran.
Tillis had started his remarks off with his bread and butter political stump speech-that Hagan votes with Obama 96 percent of the time and that Hagan made a series of “broken promises” regarding everything from healthcare to the debt and more. Tillis said:
The reason I’m running for the Senate is because Kay Hagan said she was going to finally get something done. Kay Hagan said that anybody who votes with the president 92 percent of the time doesn’t work in North Carolina. She said that about Elizabeth Dole and President Bush. She’s gone to Washington and voted with President Obama 96 percent of the time. She promised us on our healthcare that if we liked our healthcare we can keep it; we can’t. Fifty-three thousand retirees are receiving letters this week and next week letting them know that the federal government has decided their healthcare is not good enough. A month from now they’re going to get premium notices that are going to be increased premiums and decreased coverage. These are a continuous stream of broken promises. We had a $10 trillion debt back in 2008. Guess what? Because she agreed with the president that is now $17 trillion approaching $18 trillion.