June 24th, 2010
10:32 AM ET
4 years ago

'Outsider' Paul comes inside to Washington

Rand Paul will be in Washington Thursday for a fundraiser.
Rand Paul will be in Washington Thursday for a fundraiser.

Washington (CNN) - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's handpicked candidate in the Republican Senate primary in Kentucky was trounced by Rand Paul.

But that was last month.

Thursday Kentucky's senior senator hosts a fundraising reception and dinner in the nation's capitol for Paul.

Co-hosting the functions is Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. According to an invitation obtained by CNN, 10 GOP senators and 9 Republican House members are part of the welcome committee for the events. The invitation suggests donations for a reception at the NRSC headquarters as $1,000 for individuals and $2,000 for political action committees. Donations for a dinner at Bistro Bis, a restaurant a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol building, range from $4,000-$5,000 for PAC's.

Part of Paul's message as he battled for his party's Senate nomination was that he was the anti-Washington candidate. He became a favorite of Tea Party activists, and was also assisted by supporters of his father, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a Republican presidential candidate in 2008 and a leader of the libertarian movement.

Paul easily knocked off the establishment candidate, Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, whom McConnell supported, in the May 18 primary.

In his victory speech, Paul warned that "a day of reckoning" had arrived for the Washington establishment.

"I have a message from the Tea Party," he said. "A message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: 'We've come to take our government back.' "

During the primaries, Paul promised not to accept campaign contributions from any federal lawmaker who voted in favor of the extremely unpopular 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, better known as the Wall Street bailout, and he criticized Grayson for doing just that. But some of the lawmakers listed on the invitation for the Paul fundraising events voted for the financial bailout.

But Paul says he's not breaking a campaign promise.

"In a primary, you look to define yourself and differentiate yourself from the other primary candidate. In the general you look to unify and bring people together. I think also Republicans since then are unified against any more bailouts," Paul told WKYU radio in Bowling Green.

National Democrats criticize Paul's fundraising visit to the nation's capitol.

"Rand Paul seems to think campaign pledges are revocable. What's next? A pledge to the far right wing, and another one to Kentuckians? Bottom line, Rand Paul is as phony as they come. The only thing sincere about Rand Paul is that he doesn't want Kentuckians to know who he really is," Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee National Press Secretary Deirdre Murphy tells CNN.

The weekend after the primary, McConnell held a unity rally in Kentucky, to close ranks following the divisive primary. And even though they favored Greyson in the primary, national Republicans are now committed to Paul.

"We are proud to support Rand Paul's candidacy and we are confident that he will have the resources needed to win this November," National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Amber Marchand tells CNN.

Paul faces off in the general election against Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, the Democratic Senate nominee. The battle is to succeed two-term Republican Sen. Jim Bunning, who decided against running for re-election this year.

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: 2010 • Kentucky • Popular Posts • Rand Paul
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. NVa Native

    Remember how Bush/Cheney got elected? They said the same things the tea-baggers are saying. And Dick Army was right there with them.
    Of course when they were elected they kept saying the things that these people wanted to hear, and did what ever put money in the pockets of big business and their true base "the corporate elites".
    Why would anyone want to go back to that again by putting Republicans in power? The Republicans screwed EVERYTHING up. EVERYTHING!
    It is doing the same thing over and over agian expecting a different result – it is pure and simple (pun intended) the definition of insanity.

    June 24, 2010 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  2. Ben in Texas

    I don't think this particular nutcase will ever become a U.S. Senator, so he'd better enjoy being wined and dined by the plutocracy now. His Democratic opponent received far more votes in his primary than did this Social Security hating escapee from a mental hospital.

    June 24, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. Tony FL

    I am looking forward to seeing more retarded signs in 3rd grade calligraphy! Circus is coming to town!

    June 24, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. LOVESIRONY

    A flippin' and a floppin' like a fish out of water or like a Repulican

    June 24, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  5. Deb

    Paul is a joke. Once they get elected they only care about themselves.

    June 24, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    The republican apology tour to BP continues. Keep on bowing down and worshipping big oil, as that message will resonate with the right wingnuts who run the GOP.

    June 24, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. former Texas republican

    I'm sure this will be a strategic event for the republican party, but I'm reminded of the adage; "...fools and their money are soon parted."

    June 24, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  8. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Come on Rand, show big business how easy it to buy a libertarian's votes.

    June 24, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. once upon a horse

    here's to more foot in mouth statments from Rand Paul! Wonder if they'll try their best to keep him from talking to everybody but FoxNews

    June 24, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. Tim

    Surprise! Two of BP Oil's biggest supporters are Republicans!

    June 24, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  11. Patriot

    Hey Rand....
    What happened to the pledge during the primary campaign that you wouldn't take a dime from any sitting senator who voted for Bush's Bank Bailout Bill?

    Republican = Hypocrite

    June 24, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. davec.0121

    A classic example of double- and triple-speaking. He was opposed to all politicians who voted for TARP (which was actually a good thing) -until he needs their support. Now it's not breaking a promise to take money from them. Apparently the promise was only for the primary and is no longer operative. If I was from Kentucky, I'd be mad at his rather transparent attempt to fool me about what he really said. But then, it's kind of the same as his comments about the Civil Rights Act – he said them, but didn't really mean them. And kind of the same as his father: opposed to big government but takes ear marks.

    June 24, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. carlos

    these repugnants are getting sicker by the minute.....now, a fund raiser for the ignorant paul????.....away with these UNAMERICANS.......they are PUTRID

    June 24, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. Moderate

    If your're against washington, why are you running to be a part of washington? Sounds hypocritical to me.

    June 24, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  15. Stacie

    Way to stick to your principles Rand! What a political opportunistic flip flopper!

    June 24, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. jeff jackson, alabama

    Read my lips AGAIN......
    Paul is not a Republican.
    He's just hijacking the party.
    Please don't call him a Republican.

    June 24, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  17. rachel

    Man his son is the spitting image of him.

    June 24, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  18. John

    I'm really glad that the Republicans are supporting this nut case. It just shows how far right the Republicans have gone. It will make it easier for the Dems (if they use their heads, which is not a Dem trait) to hang on to the House and Senate.

    June 24, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  19. PalmReader

    Y'all think we have obstruction now, just wait until Paul becomes part of the establishment . . .

    No doubt Kentuckians already know Paul quite well. And, against their better judgement, will continue to support Paul right up to November, when they will vote for him regardless.

    After the election? Well, that's another story entirely . . .

    GOPers are all about winning. Working together towards a better America . . . not so much.

    June 24, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Rand Paul is a nut. God help Kentucky to chose wisely in NOvember!

    June 24, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. J.P.

    This happens all the time. I guess because it involves a Tea Party backed candidate and the GOP it is a story to CNN. Just look at how much Hillary Clinton bashed Obama in the 08 primary and vise versa. Now she is his Secretary of State and they act like best friends. This is politics CNN, not a story that should be used in an attempt to show the hipocrosy of the GOP.

    June 24, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  22. Dale

    Paul's argument comes down to this: "Remember all those promises I made in before the primary? I was lying, but thanks for voting for me, you suckers."

    So where are the Tea Partiers to denounce what Paul is doing?

    Besides, didn't the Tea Party make a big stink about how they were not all Republicans and could speak for themselves? So why is Paul rushing to being just another Republican?

    Guess he knows it is best to be McConnell's lapdog and the Tea Party is happy with it. That's the Tea Party for you – just another Republican tool.

    June 24, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  23. Larry

    Hey, it's Rand Palin!

    June 24, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. doug

    Ignorant spoon fed libs call Rand a racist, what that really means is that he is a better person than any Democrat in all of America.

    I invite those on the fence to conduct a fact finding mission. Spend a week in red America, observe the kindness, decency, respect, honesty, fairness, and compassion that each and every person around you has. Then spend time in blue America to see true evil, hate, lies and people with a total disregard for human life. I do suggest that if you have a family that it would be best to take out a life insurance policy before stepping foot in blue America, especially if you are going to drive amongst these hate filled selfish narcisisst savages known as Democrats.

    June 24, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. annie s

    Wow, they are willing to claim this looney extremist? 2010 is looking better for the Dems.

    June 24, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
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