In presidential campaign rollout Rand Paul positions himself as change agent

04/07/2015 10:30 PM

LOUISVILLE — “We’ve come to take our country back,” U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said as he kicked off his campaign for the presidency of the United States from the Galt House in downtown Louisville.

In a nearly 30-minute speech, Paul laid out his candidacy as the change agent in the Republican primary who will rally lovers of liberty from all sects of the party and the country.

In that vein, the Bowling Green Republican pumped up his messaging as a successful eye surgeon and included a call to invoke limited congressional terms in office.

“I have been to Washington and let me tell you — there is no monopoly of knowledge there,” Paul said. “I ran for office because we have too many career politicians. I believe it now more than ever. We limit the President to two terms. It’s about time we limit the terms of Congress.”

In an attempt to illustrate Paul’s cross-platform appeal, the kick-off included speeches from former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, an African-American, and first-term state Sen. Ralph Alvarado of Winchester, a doctor and the first Latino elected to the chamber.

Paul was also introduced by Rev. Jerry Stephenson, a former self-professed Democrat turned independent. Stephenson supported Paul under the tea party banner in the 2010 election cycle, though he said he changed his registration in 2012.

“He’s not just engaged here in Louisville. He’s engaged in Chicago, in Detroit, in Washington, in Atlanta — he goes everywhere,” Stephenson said. “It doesn’t matter what color you are, Rand Paul will be there.”

In his speech, Paul offered his view of foreign policy and reiterated his ideas on criminal justice reforms and repatriation of foreign corporate profits.

“I envision an America with a national defense unparalleled, undefeatable, and unencumbered by overseas nation building,” he said.

Kentucky’s junior senator is at once appealing to his base, yet trying to shed the idea that he is an isolationist.

“Until we name the enemy, we can’t win the war,” Paul said. “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. We need a national defense robust enough to defend against all attack, modern enough to deter all enemies and nimble enough to defend our vital interests.”

Paul said that America also needs a foreign policy that protects national interests and “encourages stability.” On nuclear negotiations with Iran, Paul gave a nod to former President Ronald Reagan’s peace-through-strength axiom.

“Successful negotiations with untrustworthy adversaries are only achieved from a position of strength,” Paul said. “We brought Iran to the table from strength, through sanctions I voted for. Now we must stay strong. That’s why I co-sponsored legislation that insures that any deal between the U.S. and Iran must be approved by Congress.”

While the White House and negotiators are still hammering out a deal with Iran, Paul said he would “oppose any deal that does not end Iran’s nuclear ambitions and have strong verification measures.”

“I will insist that any final version be brought before Congress,” Paul said.

Full raw video of Rand and Kelley Paul’s speeches:

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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