In Texas, Rand Paul meets a Cruz and a Bush
February 7th, 2014
09:55 PM ET
2 months ago

In Texas, Rand Paul meets a Cruz and a Bush

Dallas, Texas (CNN) – Texas is a vast and diverse state with sprawling urban centers and wide open pastures, but sometimes the political universe here can feel pretty small.

Rand Paul, the Kentucky Senator and Republican presidential aspirant, was reminded of this on Friday.

Arriving in Dallas at the outset of a multi-day visit to the state, Paul spent Friday meeting with a handful of financial supporters and assorted Republican politicians. On leaving the office of one of the city’s GOP donors, Paul bumped into a familiar face: Ted Cruz, his fellow Senator from Texas and another ambitious Republican who is courting grassroots conservatives in advance of a possible presidential bid.

Cruz was walking in to meet with the very same donor. The two Senators, who have something of a chilly relationship, exchanged hellos before Paul went on to his next stop.

Though Paul crossed paths with one of his rivals, his visit to Texas was hardly a risky mission behind enemy lines. Paul grew up outside of Houston, attended Baylor University and pays frequent visits to his mother and father, the former congressman and libertarian icon Ron Paul.

As he put it on Friday, “I speak fluent Texan.”

Paul’s first public appearance here was on friendly political turf: He headlined a rally in Dallas for a Republican candidate named Don Huffines, a family friend and real estate developer who is mounting a primary challenge against an entrenched state Senate incumbent with appeals to the tea party, libertarians and evangelicals. They were joined at the event by author and radio host Glenn Beck, a Dallas resident who spent the afternoon with Paul.

Trying to stir a polite crowd of several hundred supporters inside the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field, the mild-mannered Huffines delivered a cascade of tea party bromides aimed squarely at the fiery conservative base that has come to dominate Republican politics in Texas.

“I will not compromise my faith in God,” Huffines said. “I will not compromise my Constitutional convictions. I will not compromise my core beliefs in liberty.”

Paul, in slacks and a blazer, spoke briefly, riffing in his low-key style about the dangers of government overreach and the inability of politicians in both parties to make tough decisions about spending. He criticized the federal budget deal put together by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray late last year, saying that “spending is now going up again” in Washington.

But Paul’s Texas tour was not all tea party fire and brimstone.

In an interview with CNN before the event, Paul revealed that he met with George P. Bush, a candidate for Texas Land Commissioner. Bush also happens to be the 37-year old son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose name continues to surface in discussions about the 2016 Republican presidential race.

The younger Bush and Paul hail from starkly different wings of their party: Bush is considered the political heir apparent in a family that helped construct the very Republican establishment that Paul and his father have been sniping at from the party’s fringes for decades.

Paul said he had no plans to endorse Bush in the Land Commissioner race, but he said they agreed on the need to expand the Republican Party’s appeal to Hispanic voters and working class Americans. Bush’s mother is originally from Mexico, and he speaks effortless Spanish.

“I think the fact that he is a fluent Spanish speaker and spoken to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, it’s good for our party,” Paul said of George P. Bush. “I think having people who are trying to make the party bigger is good. The party has to be bigger across the country, not only appealing to people of various ethnic background but various economic backgrounds.”

The private huddle with a scion of the Bush dynasty was the latest indicator that Paul is keen on making nice with establishment Republicans as he sketches out a possible presidential bid that can reach voters outside of his grassroots, small-government base.

But despite his courtship with the party’s civil country club set, he remained pugnacious when asked about his recent spate of comments about Bill and Hillary Clinton. Paul has invoked the former president’s affair with Monica Lewinsky as evidence of the Democratic Party’s hypocrisy on the issue of women’s' rights, going so far as to call Bill Clinton a “sexual predator.”

He echoed those remarks on Friday. He predicted that Hillary Clinton will have to answer questions her husband’s affair if she decides to run for president in 2016.

“It isn’t her fault the way her husband’s behaved,” Paul told CNN. “But at the same time, I think that they are a fundraising team. He does a lot of fundraising for candidates. I think if they want to beat up on Republicans and say Republicans don’t like women, I think that one of the big things that we advanced in the last several decades is that women are protected in the workplace.”

“I’m sure Don would tell you he would fire anybody that took advantage of a 20 years old girl,” Paul said, referring to Hoffines. “If one of his managers had the same kind of problems that Bill Clinton had with a 20-year old girl, he wouldn’t work for him anymore. It’s not acceptable behavior, and yet they are out there saying they are the great crusaders for women’s rights. I think that’s some hypocrisy that they will have to explain.”


Filed under: George P. Bush • Rand Paul • Ted Cruz • Texas
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. ChrisM

    Poor ol Rand. He has no idea what he is up against if he plans to run for President.

    February 7, 2014 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  2. Winston Smith

    With the three of them in one area, there was no chance they'd be mistaken for the brain trust. The chance of a black hole where intelligence and insight were captured, or extinguished would be possible though.

    February 7, 2014 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  3. why so serious

    hang it up boys the days of white imperialism is over.

    February 7, 2014 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  4. Carlos

    Amazing. Texas land mass isn't big enough to keep these guys from "bumping into" each other. Solution: make the state bigger.

    February 7, 2014 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  5. Mike Trottier

    I wouldn't WASTE my vote on either one of them

    February 7, 2014 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  6. Mike Trottier

    and I do mean Paul and cruz,......no one should WASTE their vote on either of these guys

    February 7, 2014 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  7. my10cents

    Rand Paul is an elitist and would feel right at home in a society with clearly defined and strictly enforced castes.

    February 7, 2014 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  8. Truth

    Meeting financial supporters that hint on what he should be doing next. Great...

    February 7, 2014 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  9. John

    Circus clowns

    February 7, 2014 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  10. Thomas

    pugnacious

    Rand Paul Aqua Buddha

    Bill Clinton Monica Lewinsky

    February 7, 2014 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  11. Tony Sarris

    If the Republican party wonders why it has trouble with women voters, it need look no further than the quote from Sen. Paul in this article. A 20 year-old female is a WOMAN, not a GIRL.

    February 8, 2014 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  12. Lee

    Don't they cross paths in Washington all the time?

    February 8, 2014 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  13. jeff

    Yuck Yuck CNN. Dats too funny!!! Keep joking about the GOP...you and Piers won't be laughing next year when the Senate becomes majority Republican.

    February 8, 2014 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  14. DougNJ

    It maters not these various machinations. The GOP will be little different despite all of their more inclusive big tent outreach efforts due to them using the same few small states that are not representative of the country at large thinning the herd as to whom they deem to be the most ultra conservative candidate.

    February 8, 2014 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  15. Josh

    Between Cruz and Paul, if one of them had to be the Rep nominee..I choose Paul. Cruz is crazy.

    February 8, 2014 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  16. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Can't wait to see the GOBP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats 2012 Mitt the twit style. Huckabee, Rapheal Cruz and Dopey Rant Paul will be long gone by then.

    February 8, 2014 05:53 am at 5:53 am |
  17. Marie MD

    A cross and a burning bush coupled with another teaklan in Texas. What could go wrong with somebody who speaks "fluent" Texan and deep down inside is an atheist (Ayn anyone?)

    February 8, 2014 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  18. simplyput

    So Dallas is now part of the "civil country club set" in Texas? Gee, the rest of us just consider them fake. As to what Mrs. Clinton will have to answer for if she runs, the list only starts with Lewinski because that's where the list ended. I'd say 49 bodies should be the starting point, and if she wanted the office, she should've divorced him.

    February 8, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  19. Tampa Tim

    Rand is polishing up his lies. Now a 22 year old is 20? I don't condone this type of behavior, but it had nothing to do with Hillary. Plagiarism and lies prop up this empty suit.

    February 8, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  20. Gurgyl

    Ted Cruz, Bush? Very bad combination, bad omen. GOP is really out of touch with even with these things.

    February 8, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  21. Tampa Tim

    It appears Rand is running against Bill Clinton, talk about living in the past. It makes no sense that Rand cannot run on his own accomplishments, as soon as he accomplishes something. Bill's approval rating is 5 times Rand's. Boy blunder best get ready for the worst political drubbing in history.

    February 8, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  22. drake mallard

    Um, Ted Cruz's father was not American at the time of his birth. He was Cuban. That's right... who happily fought alongside Fidel Castro as a teen TED CRUZ's FATHER IS A CUBAN. Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, who immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba, told NPR that though he came to the country legally, he essentially bribed an official to get out of Cuba so he could come over.In an interview near his home outside Dallas, the elder Cruz says that as a teenager, he fought alongside Fidel Castro’s forces to overthrow Cuba’s U.S.-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista. He was caught by Batista’s forces, he says, and jailed and beaten before being released. It was 1957, and Cruz decided to get out of Cuba by applying to the University of Texas. Upon being admitted, he adds, he got a four-year student visa at the U.S. Consulate in Havana. And his mother was an American. And he was born in Calgary Alberta. I don't know how having a Cuban father makes you more American than Obama somehow.

    February 8, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  23. tom l

    @Tampa,
    Perhaps he asked Wendy Davis what her age was....

    Heeeeyyyyyy ohhhhhhh!!!!! :)

    February 8, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  24. Tampa Tim

    Tom l – Perhaps Rand is an idiot, which is more likely.

    February 8, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  25. wendel

    all three together make one IQ of about 75. Get real a few more years and if the repos are kept from redistricting and screwing voters rights the state will go blue and we won't have to worry about idiots like these clowns.

    February 8, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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