U.S. Senator Rand Paul, the son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, is in Iowa today — a trip that is nearly four years after his father’s first trip to Iowa on April 11, 2007.
During an interview this morning in Ames, I asked him which Paul is going to run for president in 2012?
“We really haven’t talked about it that much, to tell you the truth. I think that the signs I see of his travel and where he’s going and how much he has been going lead me to think he might be interested in running again,” Rand Paul said. “…I’ve told people that the only decision I’ve made is that I wouldn’t run against him…And even if he does, I want to be part of the process in some way.”
Were you to run, how would you avoid the criticism Republicans made of Obama in 2007 & 2008, that he lacked the experience to be president?
“Didn’t see to hurt him, did it?” Rand Paul said, chuckling. “I think it’s interesting, you know, people want to complain about it, but, you know, Lincoln was elected with two years of experience as a congressman 15 years before he ran for president. Obama, I think, announced he was running 43 days into his term…I don’t know. I think people can make any criticism they want and whether it’s valid or not, I think that’s the winnowing process that goes through a primary and that’s what we decide. We decide who best can articulate our vision.”
(A note: Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate in November of 2004, became a senator in January of 2005 and announced he was running for president in February of 2007.)
You have to be motivated to run. Do you feel that passion?
“I feel the passion to try to fix the problems in our country before it’s too late…To many who say, ‘Why don’t you just sit on the back bench and when your time has come in 12 or 15 or 20 years, then you come forward?’ I see a shorter time line, not just for me, but I see a shorter time line for the country….There’s no money left…within a decade because we are showing just absolutely no restraint,” Rand Paul said. “…Is it just good for a country to continually spend beyond their means? And I see as it not just a Democrat/Republican problem. I think Republicans are part of the problem as well…The entitlement program for prescription drugs is bigger than ObamaCare. Republicans are 100 percent against ObamaCare, but the vast majority of them voted for the prescription drug program.”
Paul said his book was an attempt to put the tenants of the Tea Party movement down on paper, and he suggested the Tea Party will play a major role in deciding who the GOP nominates in 2012.
David Fischer, a Republican from Ivy, Iowa, who supported Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential bid, and Fischer wants to see “one of the Pauls” run for president in 2012.
“They have a unique message,” Fischer says. “…They fill a void in the discourse. There’s a genuine message common to both of them of promoting freedom and shrinking the size and scope of government…and a more rational foreign policy you’ll hear only coming from the Pauls. That’s something that needs to be heard right now because we don’t have a rational foreign policy right now.”
Fischer, a 43-year-old engineering consultant, is a member of the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee. He just finished Rand Paul’s book last night and had the senator sign it this morning. Fischer is one of the small troupe of people guiding Paul through Iowa this weekend.
Paul is holding two book-signing events today in Iowa. The first is in Ames at the University Book Store on the Iowa State University campus; the second is in metro Des Moines. Paul was in Iowa City, on the University of Iowa campus last night. Paul will also speak to Iowa College Republicans late this morning and he’ll meet with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, a Republican, early this afternoon before headlining an Iowa GOP fundraiser this evening in Des Moines.