PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania — Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was at the top of his game at a series of events here Monday at the Constitution Center—the birthplace of the U.S. Constitution—sparing none of his political enemies from harsh criticism, as he laid out his vision for a different America.
“Here in front of Independence Hall, I call for the president to obey the law,” Paul said when he took the microphone, as hundreds of his supporters shouted “President Paul! President Paul! President Paul!” outside Independence Hall after a separate event inside the Constitution Center across the street.
The crowd went wild.
“The court said last week that it is illegal to collect all of your phone records all of the time without a warrant with your name on it,” Paul said. “I call on the president today to immediately end the bulk collection of our phone records.”
After describing how he saw the Bill of Rights at the Constitution Center, Paul said, “There are few things worth really, really standing up for.”
“With the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, somebody must stand up and say we will not let you tread on our Constitution or on our Bill of Rights,” Paul said, foreshadowing how he plans to use any and all efforts possible to derail the PATRIOT Act in Congress. He continued:
This week, we will have a great and momentous debate about the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment is the right to privacy. The Fourth Amendment says you and your papers are safe and secure from the government unless they ask a judge, unless there is suspicion and probable cause that you committed a crime. I don’t know anyone named Mr. Verizon. That is not a valid warrant. That is a general warrant and that’s what we fought the Revolutionary War over. Our Founding Fathers would be appalled to know we are writing one single warrant and collecting everyone’s phone records all of the time. One senator came up to me and said if you defeat the PATRIOT Act what will happen? How could we possibly survive? I said maybe, just maybe, we could rely on the Constitution for a few hours. The president is just down the road today, I hope someone will ask him: The court has ruled his program illegal, that he began by executive order and that he’s turfed off and said I’ll address it when Congress gets to it. He has the authority and the power and the obligation today to end bulk collection. It is in defiance of the Bill of Rights that this program continues, so today I call on the President: ‘Do your job and quit collecting our records.’
Unlike former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Paul took more than 10 questions from members of the press at the rally-slash-press-conference.
When the Associated Press asked him if he will filibuster the PATRIOT Act, Paul replied: “I will do everything possible” to stop it.
“The rules are tricky in the Senate, so I don’t know what I can promise but we will do everything possible. including filibustering to stop that,” Paul said.
The crowd went wild, again.
“People who watch the process recognize that they can ultimately beat me if they’ve got the votes,” Paul continued after applause. “They’ve got the votes inside the beltway. But we have the votes outside the beltway—and we’ll have that fight.”
When Politico followed up along those lines, Paul said that what he’s trying to do is “rally the country to call your congressmen and senators and say ‘enough’s enough.’ We do need to influence the process. We do not have the votes to ultimately defeat the PATRIOT Act. I can delay it. I can force them to debate it so the public at large can know what they’re doing.”
Paul cited how Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress, stating that the government was not engaged in bulk collection of Americans’ records—which was obviously later proven to be a lie by Edward Snowden’s leaks—and was incredulous when he said of Clapper: “He’s still on the job.”
“What I will demand is that we have time on the floor to debate this,” Paul said. “I will demand that amendments that we put forward are given a chance to be passed or rejected.”
Later, when asked by Breitbart News about how Clinton isn’t engaging in press conferences—or doing any interviews—Paul lambasted her for not being an open and honest presidential candidate.
“The question is about why Clinton doesn’t take questions,” Paul said after Breitbart News asked, prompting laughter from the audience. “Fear? I don’t know. The thing is is that I have a question for her and I’d like you to relay it if you do get a question to ask her: Please ask her the same question that was asked of Jeb Bush but ask it about Libya. Are we better off or worse off with the invasion of Libya? I think without question the objective evidence shows Libya is a disaster—it’s a jihadist wonderland that’s a failed state and our ambassador was assassinated, our embassy has fled and I think ISIS now organizes to a much greater extent in Libya, so the question I have for Hillary Clinton when she does answer questions is: if you had to do it over again, would you have toppled Gaddafi?”