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    Rand Paul Tag

    Rand Paul has managed to do something no Republican before him has done. In a series of recent comments and media appearances, the Kentucky senator has turned the abortion debate around, calling on Democrats and their media allies to defend their position on late-term abortion. Paul's position is summarized perfectly in this clip from Katie Yoders of News Busters:
    Rand Paul: Ask the Other Side ‘When Does Life Begin?’ It’s time for pro-lifers to go on the offense, or so Sen. Rand Paul suggests. On April 16, Sen. Paul (R-Ky.) addressed the pro-life movement at the Susan B. Anthony Campaign for Life Summit in Washington, D.C. Referencing his back-and-forth with DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the 2016 presidential candidate stressed that the pro-life movement must ask the other side, “When does life begin?” That question, he suggested, will keep the media from placing pro-lifers “neatly” in a “box.”
    Here's the video: Paul has repeatedly called on DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to respond. Her efforts have been clumsy and evasive at best.

    Thus far, the GOP presidential field officially includes three of the Senate's best. We're still waiting on the Governors to join the party. It's still early, but how are the current candidates fairing on the fundraising front? Ted Cruz The first to hop in the race, Cruz raised $ 4.3 million in his first 9 days of campaigning. A respectable start. If Governor Perry jumps in the race as anticipated, Cruz might lose some of his early fundraising steam. Governor Perry has a well established donor base in the Lone Star State that could suck funds away from Cruz. According to the Dallas Morning News, although Cruz has the early lead, he's in for stiff competition as the field continues to expand. By all accounts Governor Bush will be the moneyed man to beat.
    Still, Cruz is expected to trail other major candidates in the fund-raising battle. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush reportedly had a $100 million fund-raising goal for the quarter that ended March 31, while Cruz would be happy to get $50 million for the entire campaign.

    So far, two first-term GOP senators have declared their presidential candidacy (Cruz and Paul), with Rubio set to do so Monday. On both sides of the aisle, there are a lot of questions and concern as people wonder what these first-termers have accomplished.  This is, of course, a fair question to ask, but to be equally fair, we should take note of Harry Reid's lockdown of the Senate for the past six years. Not only were Republican senators unable to accomplish much in Reid's Senate, but neither were Democrat senators (some of whom lost their seats as a result, at least in part).  The National Review reported in January of last year:
    The New York Times reported last week on Reid’s “brutish style” and “uncompromising control” over the amendments process in the Senate. Why are more people finally catching on to Reid’s flagrant disregard for Senate customs? In part because conservatives aren’t the only ones complaining. Democrats such as Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota — who wants to repeal Obamacare’s medical-device tax — and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York — who has waged a highly publicized campaign to reform the way the military handles sexual-assault cases — have been denied votes on their proposed amendments to various bills. Gillibrand had hoped to attach her sexual-assault amendment to the defense-appropriations bill that passed in December, but no amendments were allowed. Klobuchar has called for “a more open amendment process” because she’d like a vote on repealing the medical-device tax.
    We all watched as frustrated politicians on both sides of the aisle complained that there were more than 300 bills "sitting on Harry Reid's desk," so it seems less than reasonable to focus on legislative accomplishments by first-term GOP senators who were apparently very busily working on legislation that then ended up mired down by Reid.  Even House Dems were urging Reid to pass their bills in the Senate.  To no avail.

    The Republican "War on Women" isn't over and if liberals have their way, it never will be. Newly announced presidential candidate Rand Paul appeared on the Today Show yesterday morning and had the nerve to push back when Savannah Guthrie put words in his mouth. Nick Gass of Politico:
    Rand Paul clashes with Savannah Guthrie over changing views Sen. Rand Paul clashed with “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie over her line of questioning during an interview Wednesday morning, criticizing her for editorializing over perceived changes in his political views since his election to the Senate. “You have had views on foreign policy in the past that were somewhat unorthodox, but you seem to have changed over the years,” Guthrie told the Kentucky Republican, who was appearing via satellite from Nashua, New Hampshire. “You once said Iran was not a threat, now you say it is. You once proposed ending foreign aid to Israel, now you support it, at least for the time being, and you once offered to drastically cut … defense spending.” Paul attempted to speak as Guthrie continued.
    MSNBC's Ed Schultz, who once referred to conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham as a "right wing slut" is just beside himself over all this misogyny:

    Rand Paul became the second in a long line of GOP hopefuls to make an official presidential candidacy announcement. Paul brings a much different dynamic to the Republican Party. One that challenges the status quo and makes many Republicans very nervous (and some very angry). The question of whether Rand Paul can win the nomination remains to be seen. Whatever happens, he will bring a dynamic to the GOP primary that forces other candidates to discuss issues they may not be comfortable with. Paul meanwhile, is going to have to be ready for a bevy of blistering attacks from some quarters of the GOP, particularly on issues related to national defense. Still, Rand Paul is going to shake up the race to see who will face off against the Democratic challenger in 2016. Here are 5 ways he will do that: 1. Paul will make civil liberties a priority - It's not something that has been heard in previous campaigns. But Paul's filibuster over drone strikes and his harsh criticism of NSA spying programs is sure to be an issue that will be front and center. 2. Criminal justice reform is being discussed - 20 years ago, politicians were all about getting "tough on crime." Now, Rand Paul is talking about doing away with mandatory minimum sentences and changing drug laws to do away with jail sentences for minor offenses. He has also introduced legislation to reform civil asset forfeiture laws.

    Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul officially announced his presidential candidacy this afternoon (if you missed his speech, you can watch it here). And that's when Planned Parenthood's Twitter account went berserk. It would appear whomever runs the official Planned Parenthood Twitter account seems to harbor some severe animosity for Sen. Paul:

    Senator Rubio is scheduled to announce his presidential bid April 13th, making him the third Senator to join the Republican primary fray. The second? Sen. Rand Paul. Waiting until the day after the NCAA basketball championship, Sen. Paul will formally announce his presidential run April 7 at a rally that morning. Paul will announce at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville in what is being described as an historic event by event organizers. Rand paul president announcement

    Congressman Paul Ryan appeared on FOX News after the state of the union and spoke to Bret Baier. His reaction? "A liberal speech by a liberal president." Senator Rand Paul was on the Megyn Kelly show a little later. His reaction? "I heard about a lot of free stuff but I didn't hear how he was going to pay for it."

    Rand Paul may have drawn first blood in the War on the War on Obama's Cuba Policy©, but it's Marco Rubio who is set to finish this thing with his reputation intact. Today, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) appeared on ABC's This Week and nailed fellow Republican and Senate colleague Rand Paul (R-KY) to the wall over Paul's support for Obama's plan to open up relations with Cuba. From Mediaite:
    “If he wants to become the chief cheerleader of Obama’s foreign policy, he certainly has a right to do that,” Rubio said on This Week. “I’ll continue to oppose the Obama foreign policy on Cuba because I know it won’t lead to freedom and liberty for the Cuban people, which is my sole interest here.” Paul and Rubio mixed it up this week after they came out on different sides of Obama’s surprise détente with Cuba. Rubio has been the most vocal opponent of Obama’s normalization of relations with the Castro-run island country, while Paul has suggested this was tantamount to isolationism. Host George Stephanopoulos asked Rubio he would support Paul if he became the GOP’s 2016 nominee. “I anticipate supporting whoever the Republican nominee is and I’m pretty confident that the Republican nominee for president will be someone who has a pretty forceful view of America’s role in the world as a defender of democracy and freedom,” Rubio replied.

    Alison Lundergan Grimes was to be the Wendy Davis of Kentucky. And you know what? It worked. She was crushed by Mitch McConnell. Now Grimes is lashing out, trying to prevent Rand Paul from being able to run for both President and Senate on the same ballot. From ABC11, Grimes pledges legal challenge if Paul attempts simultaneous races:
    Six weeks after she lost her own bid for the U-S Senate, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-Kentucky) tells WHAS11 if U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) tries to appear on the same ballot for both Senate and President in 2016, she will challenge him in court. "The law is clear," Grimes said. "You can't be on the ballot twice for two offices." Kentucky Democrats are not cooperating as Paul considers mounting simultaneous campaigns for Senate and President. Democrats maintained control of the Kentucky House in last month's election, a roadblock to legislation favored by the Republican Senate to remove the prohibition. House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg) declined to consider a Senate bill to that effect earlier this year. Paul may challenge the law in court as the Republican Party of Kentucky also discusses whether to hold a presidential caucus rather than a primary, which would allow Paul to follow the letter of the law by not appearing on the primary ballot, twice.
    Now, I understand, Grimes is just standing up for principles. Like when she wouldn't reveal, ahem, whether she voted for Obama:

    Earlier this week the Democrats released a video contrasting Rand Paul statements against Rand Paul's previous statements on a handful of issues. The video is a hatchet job and of course some things are taken out of context, but it highlights a major issue that's been bugging me about Rand Paul. Take a look at the video the Democrats put together: It's not uncommon for politicians to change their views, platforms, or opinions on issues. They are there to serve at the will of the people (at least in theory). Take ISIS for example. ISIS is a different kind of threat to American interests now than they were a few years ago. A policy change from isolationism to one that's considering an intervention strategy is warranted and few would fault Paul for changing his mind on this particular issue. My criticism of Paul is not because he's become an interventionist in a Libertarian body, after all, people don't flock to presidential election polls all riled up about foreign policy. My criticism is not that he's changed his mind. My criticism stems from Rand Paul's refusal to 1) admit his policy stance has changed and 2) handle this policy shift gracefully rather than indignantly.

    Yesterday, we wrote about Senator Paul's apparent departure from isolationism.  Last night, the Kentucky Senator chatted with Sean Hannity about his foreign policy stance:
    "I've been trying to say that for the last four years of public life that I'm I'm neither an isolationist nor an interventionist. I'm someone who believes in the Constitution and believes America should have a strong national defense and believes that we should defend ourselves. But when we do it, we should do it the way the Constitution intended. That's the President should come before Congress and make the case for war." "There's a big difference between that and between doing it unilaterally. And I think the example of Libya, with both Hillary's support and President Obama's support shows all the unintended consequences when they around the Constitution."
    I don't disagree we should respect Constitutional channels, but objectively speaking, this is just political posturing and an attempt to define his position as diametrically opposed to that of both Mrs. Clinton and the administration. Which is smart. But his argument seems to hinge on the fact that we would not be in this nightmare of a foreign policy situation had President Obama gone to Congress. Perhaps he's right. He continued:

    Advocating for foreign intervention is not something you usually hear from libertarian poster children like Senator Paul. And yet, that seems to be what he's preaching. From WaPo:
    "If I were president, I would call a joint session of Congress," Paul told the AP. "I would lay out the reasoning of why ISIS is a threat to our national security and seek congressional authorization to destroy ISIS militarily."
    Good. Someone should have a plan to deal with those monsters. But as WaPo points out, Paul is supposed to be the only non-interventionist in the bunch of potential 2016 contenders. Compare Paul's statement to the rest of the pack of GOP potential candidates, as compiled by WaPo:
    Chris Christie: ""The ISIS situation is one that deserves a really detailed answer, which I'm not going to give you while walking down the boardwalk and taking selfies." Marco Rubio: "If we do not act now to assist our Iraqi partners and moderate Syrians who oppose ISIL, as well as utilize our own forces to directly target ISIL’s leadership, the result will be more suffering and tragedy for our people.”

    Looks like the Select Committee headed by Trey Gowdy will be Bipartisan! Politico reports, Benghazi panel to have 7 GOPers, 5 Dems:
    The select committee that will probe the attacks in Benghazi will have seven Republicans and five Democrats, according to sources familiar with the GOP leadership’s plans. A resolution to create the committee will come to the floor Thursday and is expected to pass by a wide margin. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) tapped South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy to chair the panel.
    And it's pretty obvious that Hillary will be a primary focus:
    On  May 7, 2013 during one of the many House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings on Benghazi, Rep. Trey Gowdy, his voice slightly shaken with emotion, had the following ringing words to say –  and for their sake, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama better have been listening: “so if anyone wants to know what difference does it make, if anyone wants to ask what difference does it make (in reference to the now infamous Hillary Clinton quote) – it always matters whether you can trust your government – and to the families of the victims – we are going to find out what happened in Benghazi and I dont give a damn who’s career is impacted – we are going to find out what happened.” Rep. Gowdy will now be able to completely fulfill that promise, and in the process, could destroy the political careers of one or both of the most powerful Democrats in America.
    Rand Paul is encouraging the focus on Hillary:
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