U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) launched his 2016 presidential bid at an event in Louisville, KY. The events leading up to his announcement speech highlighted a diversity that Paul has stressed has been lacking in the Republican Party. Paul has spent the last two years traveling to speak at different inner city venues, college campuses and groups that are normally not friendly Republican territory.
Former Congressman J.C. Watts (R-OK), an African-American who represented Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District from 1995 to 2003, emceed the event. Watts endorsed Paul publicly a few days ago. African-American Pastor Jerry Stephenson from the Midwest Church of Christ in Louisville endorsed Paul. Stephenson said he was a Democrat until 2012 and then became an independent. A Hispanic colleague, Ralph Alvarado, declared that Paul is a leader “who is going to embrace diversity.” He also had a University of Kentucky student, Lauren Bosler, explain why she and other young adults supported Paul.
His wife, Kelley, introduced Paul as he made the stage.
“I have a message, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words. We have come to take our country back,” Paul declared. “We have come to take our country back from the special interests that use Washington as their personal piggy bank, the special interests that are more concerned with their personal welfare than the general welfare.”
He stated he wanted to be a part of America’s return to prosperity, as well as, a return to privacy, opportunity and liberty.
He did not refrain from criticizing his own party. Citing that hope and opportunity are slipping away from America’s children due to overspending and massive debt he pointed out the blame does not just lie with Democrats. “It seems to me that both parties and the entire political system are to blame. Big government and debt doubled under a Republican administration,” Paul stated. “And it’s now tripling under Barack Obama’s watch. President Obama is on course to add more debt than all of the previous presidents combined.”
“We borrow a million dollars a minute. This vast accumulation of debt threatens not just our economy, but our security,” Paul added.
Paul added that Republicans must stand on principle and not nominate a candidate who would sacrifice those principles.
“In order to restore America, one thing is for certain, though: We cannot, we must not dilute our message or give up on our principles,” Paul stated. “If we nominate a candidate who is simply Democrat Light, what’s the point? Why bother?”
In his speech Paul called for term limits for Congress, reminded those listening he proposed a “Read the Bills Act,” and called for a Balanced Budget Amendment in order to bring reform to Washington. Paul also called for economic freedom zones to help those living in impoverished areas of the country.
“Can you imagine what a billion-dollar stimulus could do for Detroit or for Appalachia? I’m convinced that most Americans want to work. I want to free up the great engine of American prosperity,” Paul explained.
Joining Rick Santorum who has focused his economic message on the working class, Paul also emphasized a need for a resurgence of manufacturing jobs. “I want to see millions of Americans back at work. In my vision for America, we’ll bring back manufacturing jobs that pay well. How? We’ll dramatically lower the tax on American companies that wish to bring their profits home,” Paul added.
Paul said prosperity and opportunity can only be achieved if America is defended against the enemies that seek to attack the country. He also said that enemy has to be named. “Without question we must defend ourselves and American interests from our enemies, but until we name the enemy, we can’t win the war,” Paul stated. “The enemy is radical Islam. You can’t get around it. And not only will I name the enemy, I will do whatever it takes to defend America from these haters of mankind.”
Paul also spoke out against nation building that has occurred through the current war on terror. “Conservatives should not succumb, though, to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow succeed in building nations abroad,” Paul said. “I envision an America with a national defense unparalleled, undefeatable and unencumbered by overseas nation-building.”
He also criticized President Obama’s negotiations with Iran from, saying that the President is negotiating from a position of weakness. He also called for any Iran deal to be approved by Congress.
“We’ve brought Iran to the table through sanctions that I voted for. Now we must stay strong. That’s why I’ve cosponsored legislation that ensures that any deal between the U.S. and Iran must be approved by Congress,” Paul said.
“It concerns me that the Iranians have a different interpretation of the agreement. They’re putting out statement that say completely the opposite of what we’re saying. It concerns me that we may attempt, or the president may attempt, to unilaterally and prematurely halt sanctions,” Paul added. “I will oppose any deal that does not end Iran’s nuclear ambitions and have strong verification measures, and I will insist that the final version be brought before Congress.”
He also called for the end of foreign aid to countries that are hostile to the United States. “It angers me to see mobs burning our flag and chanting ‘Death to America’ in countries that receive millions of dollars in our foreign aid. I say it must end. I say not one penny more to these haters of America,” Paul stated.
He addressed the familiar topic of privacy. “I say that your phone records are yours. I say the phone records of law-abiding citizens are none of their damn business,” Paul exclaimed. “The president created this vast dragnet by executive order. And as president on day one, I will immediately end this unconstitutional surveillance.”
Paul said that a balance between liberty and security could be achieved, but that he would not compromise liberty for a “false sense of security.”
He ended his speech with his official announcement. “To rescue a great country now adrift, join me as together we seek a new vision for America. Today I announce with God’s help, with the help of liberty lovers everywhere, that I am putting myself forward as a candidate for president of the United States of America,” Paul stated.