2016 Watch: Rand Paul's travel plans very telling
May 10th, 2013
12:15 PM ET
11 months ago

2016 Watch: Rand Paul's travel plans very telling

Washington (CNN) – He may work in the nation's capital, but it's Sen. Rand Paul's upcoming itinerary that might tell us his ultimate goal.

The Republican from Kentucky makes stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada over the next few months. Those four states kick off the presidential primary and caucus calendar.

The son of former Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who's 2012 GOP presidential bid was his third and final run for the White House, has not been shy about his own presidential ambitions.

"I am different than some in that I'm not going to deny that I'm interested," the first term senator told ABC News in November, soon after the 2012 presidential election.

As for his timetable, a breakfast last month sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor Paul said "we're considering it, but we won't make a decision before 2014."

Three years ago this month, backed by his father's libertarian supporters and by tea party activists and other grassroots conservatives, Paul scored a big victory over the GOP's establishment's pick in Kentucky's Republican Senate primary, which launched him to victory in the general election that November.

This year Paul's been in the spotlight, giving the tea party response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address. His filibuster against the administration's drone program captured national attention, as did his speech to a largely African-American audience at Howard University in the nation's capital.

Friday he's off to Iowa, two and a half years before the state's caucuses, the first contest in the 2016 cycle. The most high profile event of his two-day swing is his keynoting of the state GOP Lincoln Day Dinner in Cedar Rapids. Among other topics, Paul's expected to speak out about immigration and border security, a pressing issue among the Republican base.

But Paul is also scheduled to hold a coffee with the Iowa Federation of Republican Women, breakfast with the Johnson County Republicans in Iowa City, and take part in a "Pastors and Pews" event put together by the evangelical based American Renewal Project.

Paul's stance opposing a national law banning same-sex marriage and allowance for abortion exceptions may not play well with the social conservatives who have a big say in Iowa's Republican caucuses. And if the 50-year-old senator transforms this year's flirtations into an actual campaign, he'll need to expand his support from libertarian and tea party base.

Paul's next stop after Iowa is New Hampshire, which holds the first-in-the-nation primary and traditionally votes second in the calendar. Paul teams up with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus at a state party's first annual Liberty Dinner.

At the end of the month Paul speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.

Next month Paul heads to South Carolina, the first southern state to vote in the primaries. He headlines a state party lunch in Greenville and a barbecue dinner in Columbia, which was first reported by CNN.

In July, Paul is planning to attend the annual FreedomFest event in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Silver State is the first western state vote in the primary season. And a return trip to Iowa (this time in the Des Moines area) is in the works for later in the month.

Paul Chief of Staff Doug Stafford tells CNN that Paul's travels are part of his push to weigh in on the future direction of the GOP.

"Rand is moving forward as a national leader and wants to speak out on issues of importance as well as the direction of the party for the future. These appearances as well as his day to day work in the Senate give him the ability to do just that," said Stafford, who's also a top Paul strategist and who's moving over from the Senate office to steer Paul's political action committee.

Paul's appeal to Republican voters is also being accompanied by a coast to coast outreach to GOP donors.

Add all this together, and it gives off the appearance that Paul isn't just testing the waters, he's diving in.


Filed under: 2016 • Iowa • Nevada • Rand Paul
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Jefferson

    Go Rand 2016!! before we are financially ruined

    May 10, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. Boo

    Give me a break. The election was just 7-8 months ago and now another article about the next presidential election????!!! CNN give it a rest, please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 10, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. The Dude

    Rand Paul will never hold a high office either.

    May 10, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    This is the same guy who thinks the Civil Rights Act is unconstitutional.

    May 10, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    Mr. Paul's travel plans might be very telling to some.
    To others, though?
    Rather boring, actually.

    May 10, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. Larry in Houston

    """The Republican from Kentucky makes stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada over the next few months. Those four states kick off the presidential primary and caucus calendar"""

    This shows you how much the republicans actually hate it, when Obama won the election – They thought they had it all in the bag –

    this is the exact reason that whom ever will be the next nominee, will need at least a B illion dollars, otherwise, they better figure on losing, or at least not making it – to being the nominee, at least.

    Christy needs to get on the horn w/ Hillary – & take that trip to see carlos slim – even with Sheldon Adelson's money – + Trump's & everyone else's money – there would be no match with a ticket like that.

    May 10, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  7. Liberty's Lover

    Rand Paul will be our next President. No doubt about it.

    May 10, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    "His filibuster against the administration's drone program captured national attention, as did his speech to a largely African-American audience at Howard University in the nation's capital."
    -------------------
    TV clips of Paul's demeanor while he was speaking at Howard University would have made you think he was spaeking to a group of pre-schoolers. He spoke just way to slowly and deliberately, as if the audience would not understand what he was talkinga about? "Do you know ...."

    May 10, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. anonoymous

    This week i went to walmart quip trip and post office. Guess what my intentions are for 2016. What a joke...

    May 10, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. Pete

    Rand is as delushional as his old man and should if he were sucessful go back to his past medical practice again if he were sucessful...Probibly not!!

    May 10, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Hermy wants to be a POTUS...

    May 10, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. sassysticks53

    Rand Paul will never be POTUS! Does he think minorities don't exist? He would need the Latino vote and the women's vote and he'll never get it. And African Americans? – Forget about it. They'd never vote for this guy.

    May 10, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    @Liberty's Lover

    Rand Paul will be our next President. No doubt about it.
    -------------------------
    Yeah right! Maybe if Newtie gets that moon colony going, he can be the president of it. He will never be the president of the US.

    May 10, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Does he plan on visiting anymore HBCU's?

    May 10, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    Here's the funny thing: Paul, if he were elected, would have had even less political experience than Obama. Has he worked on any legislation that has passed, or even attempted to work on anything? Nope. The only thing he has done is say the word "no" more than anyone else in the Senate during his single term in office, and for that we should consider him ready to lead this country? Please. There is nothing to this man on a policy level other than clinging to an ideology that says people are on their own, even if a natural disaster strikes. What a great guy!

    May 10, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. Wake up People!

    Geez, Fox-lite is really pushing this backwoods hick. Rand Paul will NEVER be POTUS, and if KY wasn't populated by other hicks, he wouldn't even be in Congress.

    May 10, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. Tom

    Seriously, do you think there's any doubt that Rand Paul is running in 2016? And do you really think it's worth spending time speculating about it in 2013?

    May 10, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. Wake up People!

    @Larry in Houston.

    Of course they thought they had it in the bag. Why else would Willard continually repeat, "when I'm president" during the final debate? After being assured by Rush and Rove aka R & R, he just knew he would win and only prepared an acceptance speech.

    Then there was poor Queen Ann's election night breakdown........
    That night I don't think I had ever laughed so hard in my life.......

    May 10, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. sammy750

    One of the Republican TRAITOR to the nation and people.

    May 10, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  20. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Rand Paul is delusional if he actually thinks he will ever be President. We KNOW his supporters already are...

    May 10, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  21. Rick McDaniel

    Lots of people will run. Running doesn't mean a lot, unless you win the primary.

    May 10, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. Wilson

    Sniffit

    Hermy wants to be a POTUS...
    --------
    Now that's funny, I don't care who you are!!

    May 10, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. ST

    I think this craziness is in their blood. His father never stopped running, until when he realised time was not in his side anymore. Now, his son has started earlier than his father did, and he is going to run and run at least for 25-30 years to come.

    May 10, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. Thomas

    @Liberty's Lover
    Rand Paul will be our next President. No doubt about it.

    Aqua Buddha / Mickey Mouse 2016
    Yes We Are !

    May 10, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  25. Na

    I agree with all the all the bloggers who think that this delusional man will nevet be POS.

    May 10, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
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