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.

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"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. Ed - Spring, TX

    I like some of the fiscal policies of the GOP. We absolutely need to reconcile our budget woes. Balance revenue and spending. But the GOP social agenda is so back water that it's terrible. If they don't leave that behind they'll never win an election in the new America.

    March 20, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. cedar rapids

    The GOP has a stale crust and Paul is just stuffed full of cheese. Neither appeal that much.

    March 20, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  3. rbnlegend

    If the republican party can figure out that what they need to change is some fundamental mindset problems, and not how they organize the people trying to spread their message, the "new crust" idea might work. Dominos got a lot out of that approach, becuase they changed their pizza, not because they changed their advertising. If republicans want to continue to spend money on war without any limits, lower taxes for the rich, support predatory business practices, substitute shaming people for reproductive health care, and so on, changing the words they use won't help. If they change their words, but continue to vote the same way, and engage in the same procedural tactics that accomplish the same ends, they aren't changing the pizza.

    This is the future. We know how they vote. We know how they use the system. It's harder to say one thing and do another. They need to understand that. When a politician says "I want to lower spending", the public can whip out a smart phone and find out that he just filibustered to block a bill that would have reduced spending because some of that spending happened in his district. But a bunch of old ex-lawyers with no technology awareness to speak of don't get that. They have bought into the idea that the advertising is the product, but in the end, people eat the pizza, and if it's bad, we don't buy it again.

    March 20, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  4. JC

    He can change the make up of the crust but it won't help if it's still only half baked in the end.

    March 20, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  5. FoonTheElder

    The GOP likes to talk about how they need to change their image. This in itself is dishonest as they think that all they need to do is continue the same old policies but put out more attractive advertisements.

    It's similar to GW Bush's kinder, gentler Republicanism. How did that work out?

    March 20, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  6. catlady

    "Champions individual's rights against government infrigement". Are you kidding me! This man is against abortion, including in the case of rape or incest...he is against same sex marriage. Sounds like the same OLD GOP to me. BTW This is not the Berkeley where I lived!

    March 20, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  7. Professor Milburn Cleaver

    Although I admire Senator Paul, he is unelectable in a general campaign. It is my considered opinion that Scott Walker will be the Republican standard bearer and will go on in the fall of 2016 to defeat Clinton by a landslide.

    March 20, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  8. Josh

    What worries me is that when republicans and libritarians tout "individual rights" and "limited government" in an effort to promote individual freedom, they too often neglect that this also means "corporate rights" and limits protections for individuals, small business and the environment. I think it is pretty clear that profit motives of corporate America and big business trump individual rights and our rights to a safe, sustaining environment, clean water and air and living wages.

    March 20, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  9. GrogInOhio

    Meh... I wouldn't be surprised if this reasonable message from Rand Paul is a part of his "misinformation" campaign.

    March 20, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  10. Spacemunky

    When will they figure out it's not their image, it's their policies that stink? Most Americans don't wnat to hate on the poor and they don't want to create a religious state, which today's GOP are all about. So Paul's statement was 1/3 right, the GOP should die.

    March 20, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  11. Serge Storms

    The Republicans won't die if they don't evolve, but they will gradually lose power and become a minority party on the national level. I'm no Rand Paul fan but he's on the right track here.

    March 20, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  12. Anonymous

    "He also seems rather uppity to me."

    He's the epitome of "talking down" to people which is not surprising considering the dude thinks he was born for this very moment in time: becoming leader of a bunch of hypocrites his father helped groom. Ron Paul wanted nothing but to take over the libertarian segment of society and Rand Paul is heir apparent. That neither of them ever embraced "outside their own" is obvious, especially in the son Rand.

    March 20, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  13. TxGran

    Never mind the bad crust, the Repubs need more sauce, just like most pizzas.

    March 20, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. Anonymous

    No matter how you slice it, his policy of cutting taxes on the rich and raising them for everyone else isn't going to fool any college campus. He should try some place that doesn't believe in that kind of fancy book learning.

    March 20, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  15. Krusty Klown

    I love Krust just not dominoe krust

    March 20, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  16. steven

    I want fiscal conservatism. I don't want hate for people and backwards thinking in regards to science, I want open-minded government officials, who strive to learn and look at all potential solutions to a problem and always think of the WHOLE country when in federal government.

    March 20, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  17. patw2100

    RINO Paul should feel free to join the Party of Obama since he dislikes the GOP so much.

    March 20, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  18. Anonymous

    @Josh

    "What worries me is that when republicans and libritarians tout "individual rights" and "limited government" in an effort to promote individual freedom, they too often neglect that this also means "corporate rights" and limits protections for individuals, small business and the environment. I think it is pretty clear that profit motives of corporate America and big business trump individual rights and our rights to a safe, sustaining environment, clean water and air and living wages."

    Take away government per Rand Paul and Company and see what happens to the United States of America. The vultures in corporate America have already devoured middle America. Next in line: corporate vultures completing their task by devouring the government of the United States of America. Ted Cruz. Rand Paul. Paul Ryan. All three have one goal in mind: eliminating our government which has stood strong for over 200 years.

    March 20, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  19. Woody's Hay

    If Rand/GOP is the crust, even after "improvement" ... eat the box ... better taste and nutrition, and much better overall for your health.

    March 20, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  20. bryan

    New crust on dominos still makes it a dominos pizza.

    March 20, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  21. Jon

    The problem is that the crust is the base of the pizza, so Rand is saying essentially that the base of the Republican party needs to be changed. But that will never happen because the base is the voters with the most rigid, narrow viewpoints who are totally against change of any kind. The GOP has come to represent this base because they have courted the voters who will reliably vote in lock step with any Republican candidate because their views tend to mirror that of the voters. That's why the Tea Party can sweep seats when the establishment Republican tries to walk away from the far right towards moderate positions. They simply come in, make noise, and say what they know those voters want to hear because they've never changed their opinions and never will. They are the GOP's reliable customers and no good business changes its model so drastically that it runs the risk of losing the very people who built their brand to the high level of recognition it enjoys.

    March 20, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  22. CrashMan

    "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."

    It'll take a lot more than talking about bad pizza crust to get people to follow Rand Paul.

    March 20, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  23. rs

    Mr. Paul is correct. It is time for the GOP to adapt or die.
    One cannot fathom how a political party underwent the distillation process the GOP has to wind up with the very worst of everything. The GOP is:
    anti-freedom;
    supports only the rich;
    has one solution for international confilct: war;
    has one economic too: tax cuts (for the rich);
    hates the poor;
    hates the elderly;
    hates children (yet calls itself "pro-life");
    seethes with hatred of the duly elected President;
    believes obstruction and anti-Americanism is patriotic;
    is openly racist, homophobic, and seeks to seize rights from minorities and women;
    hates the environment and seemingly wants to destroy the natural world (for a profit).

    Their values are SO misplaced it is simply amazing that anyone supports them at all.
    One has to work hard to create a maelstrom of worse characteristics for a group that sets itself up as moral, Christian or interested in leading the greatest nation on the planet.

    March 20, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  24. James Hall

    Rand Paul's ambitions must have the Koch Brothers in stitches. They can bury him whenever they choose to. Paul has some nerve trying to change the party they own because of the GOP's total dependency on their money. They see him as a junior high school nerd only good for laughs.

    March 20, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  25. ELMO

    Well at least Dominoes changed its ingredients to a higher quality base.

    March 20, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
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