March 19th, 2014
09:31 PM ET
9 months ago

Rand Paul: GOP like bad pizza crust

(CNN) – Rand Paul put a new spin on a familiar refrain that the Republican Party needs to broaden its base. He compared the GOP's need for change to a recent Domino's Pizza's campaign to improve the taste of its crust.

The Kentucky senator and potential 2016 presidential candidate told a packed crowd of students at the University of California at Berkeley on Wednesday that "the Republican Party needs to either evolve, adapt or die."

"Remember when Domino’s finally admitted they had bad crust? Think Republican Party. Admit it; bad crust. We need a different kind of party," he said referring to a well-known advertising campaign by the pizza chain.

Republican Rand Paul: There 'should be a struggle to make the party better'

After complaints from customers of stale, flavorless crust, Domino’s promised change and documented its efforts to come up with better tasting pizza.

Paul's prescription that his own party should undergo a public reinvention comes one year after the Republican National Committee engaged in what has come to be known as a post-election loss "autopsy." It was an analysis of its shortcomings following President Barack Obama’s reelection.

Libertarian-leaning Paul addresses liberal-leaning campus

Paul, a high-profile conservative figure, is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2016.

Further stirring speculation of a presidential run, Paul has been reaching out to historically less-friendly demographic territory for Republicans - like the notoriously liberal-leaning student body at UC Berkeley - to spread his message of limited-government libertarianism.

CPAC crowd stands for Rand

Asked during the question-and-answer part of the forum whether his apparent attempt to step into previously uncharted territory for Republican candidates is also an effort to broaden personal appeal as he contemplates a run for higher office, Paul said, "Maybe."

"Part of it might be that," he said to applause.

Paul said that a candidate who champions individuals' rights against government infringement should appeal to a wide audience given the state of the war on drugs and the United States' justice system.

Rand Paul announces suit against Obama administration over NSA

"Think about it. If you're African American, Japanese American, Jewish American, Hispanic - have there every been times when the government didn't treat you fairly? Have there ever been times when you said, you know what, the war on drugs has had a racial outcome," Paul said.

"Maybe a candidate who would stand up and say everybody deserves their day in court. The law should not have a racial outcome," he said. "Maybe then people would say, ‘I always hated those Republicans and their crust sucks but maybe there's some new Republicans.’ Maybe there will be a new GOP."

Paul, like his father, former presidential candidate and libertarian icon Ron Paul, has generated a sizable following among a younger generation.

Keenly aware of his student-age audience, Paul's pizza analogy could appeal to a demographic that helped launch Barack Obama from Illinois senator to the Oval Office - millennials.

A recent CNN/ORC International poll shows Paul is at the top of a crowded field of potential Republican presidential candidates, with 16% support among Republicans nationwide.


Filed under: 2016 • Rand Paul • Republican Party
soundoff (364 Responses)
  1. dirksterdude

    A suite against the NSA sounds hilarious. Maybe Rand Paul should try and sue himself over this because the NSA needed Congress to pass various laws like the Patriot Act and others for the NSA to even do half of what they are doing today. Congress gave that power to the President so now we all deal with the consequences. You want to fix this domestic spying problem – repeal some of these laws that takes away the NSA's power to monitor the public. Don't think for 1 second that any President – no matter which President should take all the blame.

    March 20, 2014 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  2. salty dog

    Oh, and never mind my changing election rules to suit my needs, no biggie.

    March 20, 2014 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  3. noAd

    Got new crust? Brilliant stage setting for new ideas.

    March 20, 2014 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  4. JV

    People will not vote for you because you are just as nuts has you father.

    March 20, 2014 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  5. Chris L.

    The GOP doesn't need a new crust; it needs a whole new pizza shop

    March 20, 2014 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  6. Olympic Eagle

    I'm not crazy about this guy or any Republican. But, as Liberal/Progressive I'd almost give this guy a chance (if Hillary looses to him) just to see how the Republican establishment reacts to him. Would House and Senate Republicans really support this guy's agenda or would they just co-opt him (my guess the latter). Do we really think that the party would support a libertarian cultural agenda? Do we really think they would support getting rid of the Fed? Do you think McCain and Graham would support Rand for shrugging his shoulders at Russia or Syria? For a liberal like me, it would be a hoot..much more entertaining than the Bush years.

    March 20, 2014 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  7. Meyer C. Dhoates

    Rand Paul would have been more accurate if he compared the GOP to a full diaper. He is correct that the GOP needs to change, just ask Rand's cousin Ru Paul. Ru Paul knows all about change.

    March 20, 2014 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  8. Boo

    "Evolve, adapt or die......." not gonna happen as long as you have a bunch of old white guys in the party. Good luck with that Rand Paul....

    March 20, 2014 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  9. Robert N. constant

    Here is the demographic problem the Republicans face. They have attracted the biggest segment of their base based upon hatred and the exclusion of the very groups they need desperately to attract. African Americans vote 90% against them because of their racist Old Confederacy attitudes. Minorities vote against them because of their ethnic and racial hatreds and their hard, unforgiving line on immigration reform. Women vote against them because of their opposition to equal pay for equal work and their insistence on denying women the right to control their own bodies. Gays and Lesbians vote against them because of their lightly veiled homophobia and their opposition to equal rights for that community. People needing medical coverage vote against them because of their opposition to medical care consistent with the rest of the civilized industrialized world. People on Social Security see the Republican plan to keep taxes on the wealthy low by cutting Social Security. Environmentalists are outraged by the denial of global warming fostered by the Petroleum and Coal Billionaires funding the Republican Party and pushing fracking, destroying America's underground water reserves. People who believe in sound education are astounded by the Republican Creationists forcing science out of the Schools

    March 20, 2014 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  10. salty dog

    He understands the gop leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

    March 20, 2014 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  11. jimranes

    The problem Rand Paul faces is less the GOP and more his extreme Tea Party views. There is no doubt that the GOP has to be more "inclusive" and also more productive to the vast majority of Americans. If the GOP wants to invalidate the ACA, what do they propose to replace it and how will their plan be better, more affordable, and more proactive? The record of the GOP Congress speaks for itself...abysmal. The GOP can talk about being smarter and more inclusive, but the first step is to "act" inclusive. The country needs two committed and productive political parties who seriously work on behalf of the vast majority of our citizenry. Today, that's not happening to the detriment of our country.

    March 20, 2014 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  12. Nick

    You can rebrand all you want but as long as the GOP continues to rob from the poor to give to the rich and shove their right wing Christian social agenda down everyone's throat then it's not going to matter.

    March 20, 2014 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  13. Casey

    The crust analogy would be ok, if the GOP's crust wasn't the backbone of their party. Domino's makes pizza. The crust is a part of their pizza that they could improve. The GOP tries to govern. Their 'crust' consists of beliefs that government can't do anything right, that gays are immoral and should not be allowed to marry, that abortions should be illegal, that income inequality as it currently exists is just fine, etc. If you change that crust, is it really the GOP anymore? And if it's all just to win elections, is it really change?

    If they really want to change things fundamentally, they should start a new party. The effort to shift the republican party is an effort to not lose the voting block. It's a fear of becoming irrelevant, like the greens and others on the left.

    March 20, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  14. dave

    Paul wants republicans to be more like democrats, trouble is, there's already a better party, the democrat party. Primarily what appeals to the young is the libertarian stance on drugs. It's something the young can get all excited about, something they can relate to. So many of the young don't want to get too deep into politics, or economic/trade issues, just keep it all light. There's always these little issues that you can get involved in, without having to do any real thinking, or deep anaysis. Healthcare shouldn't bother you, if you're young and healthy, as long as you don't look at the bigger picture, maybe don't have older people in your family, or maybe all of your family is overly healthy, maybe immortal.

    March 20, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  15. Robert N. constant

    Environmentalists, Intelligent Women, Minorities, Gays and Lesbians, Educators, People on Social Security, People benefitting from Obamacare, People on minimum wage, People believing in the separation of church and state, People wanting sensible gun control, People outraged by Republican efforts to disenfranchise voters, People who favor Progressive taxation. Labor Union Members, People opposing needless warfare- all of these folks have been alienated by the Republican Party. The Republican base will not allow them to be included. The elephant's tent has become a pup tent crowded with people who hate. Paul is right. The Republican Party is terminally sick and should be taken off of life support. Unlimited amounts of Koch brothers ( and others) money thrown into political campaigns, Mitt Romney's 850 Clear Channel Radio Stations that bring you Rush Limbaugh, and Fix News can only rejuvenate the corpse for so long. Even the Fundamentalist Bible Belt Churches are on the wane. The Republican party is going the way of the Carrier Pigeon.

    March 20, 2014 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  16. carlin123

    This kind of common sense politics will never fly in this country.
    Bring on the herpes-like return of Hillary Clinton.

    March 20, 2014 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  17. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Think about it. If you're African American, Japanese American, Jewish American, Hispanic – have there every been times when the government didn't treat you fairly? Have there ever been times when you said, you know what, the war on drugs has had a racial outcome," Paul said."

    Ah, yes. Rand Paul the racial scholar schooling the races against the very government he and his daddy have collected from their entire adult lives. But, hey. He's going to change all that ... someday. Yep. Put him at the helm and he's
    going to do .... something.

    March 20, 2014 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  18. carlos

    Rand Paul for President!

    March 20, 2014 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  19. ElvisvsJLX

    Not bad crust, more like rotting garbage.

    March 20, 2014 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  20. Jim Jimson

    Rand Paul is a nut.

    March 20, 2014 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  21. boatvolt

    GOP: Big tent, wide stance...

    March 20, 2014 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  22. The Nurse

    I have voted democrat in every election since 1990, when I turned 18. I have to say that Paul actually apeals to me and that says a lot. I have always said if Republicans would drop the religous right, stop the pointless war on drugs, focus on the economy, get out of peoples bedrooms (IE gay rights) and stop trying to get involved in every war int he world I might be interested.

    March 20, 2014 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  23. Bob

    May the senator should read the comments of GOP followers on this same web page regarding the ""More than 100 immigrants found at suspected stash house in Texas"" and he will see the problem, the GOP paints all Latinos with the same brush... the racist comments are hideous. You can insult someone and expect to vote for you..

    March 20, 2014 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  24. TheDerf74

    Domino's still sucks. Is that the real message? :)

    March 20, 2014 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  25. Mike

    Even with a new crust, they're still selling pizza.they need more than a facelift.they need specifics.

    March 20, 2014 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
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