March 23rd, 2014
03:26 PM ET
4 months ago

Panel: Rand Paul is 'clearly a factor in 2016'

(CNN) – Rand Paul isn't your run-of-the-mill Republican teasing 2016 ambitions.

It's early in the game, but Paul's crusade against government overreach and his willingness to buck the establishment GOP are turning heads. And his recent popularity has some arguing the Kentucky Republican might have some staying power.

"State of the Union" political panelists Newt Gingrich, Neera Tanden and Susan Page agree Paul is one of the most interesting among the potential 2016 presidential candidates.

"Here's a guy who's got Neera Tanden and Newt Gingrich in agreement that he's interesting and provocative - and so I definitely think Rand Paul gets the ‘most interesting Republican on the scene’ prize for the past year," said Page, Washington bureau chief for USA Today.

Page said Paul is "clearly a factor" going into the 2016 elections.

"And if anyone thought he was just Ron Paul Two - that's clearly not the case,” she said, referring to his father, who ran for the GOP nomination in 2008 and also ran for president in 1988 as a libertarian candidate. “He's carving out his own identity, it's distinctive. Sometimes he takes on Republicans, sometimes he takes on Democrats,” she said.

The libertarian-leaning senator is fresh off a speech at the historically liberal-leaning University of California at Berkeley, where he talked about the National Security Agency's surveillance program and the Republican Party's need for change.

"I think Rand Paul is actually raising profound questions that go right at the heart of the American establishment,” said Gingrich, a co-host on CNN's “Crossfire” and former GOP House speaker. "Rand Paul is touching on a nerve here, which every conservative ought to take seriously."

Host Candy Crowley said Paul's interesting because he’s "unpredictable on some issues."

Paul has been speaking and meeting with groups that largely voted for Obama in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, like millennials.

"Part of his power with young people is that he's willing to take on not Democrats, but Republicans," said Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress.

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.

Gingrich said Hillary Clinton, who's seen as an unofficial front-runner for the White House on the Democrats’ side, should take a page from Paul's book.

"Rand Paul has been the most consistently principled person talking about issues. And yeah, Neera's right, he takes on Republicans - so what? That's good for America. I'd love to see Hillary take on Democrats with the same courage that Rand Paul is taking on Republicans," said Gingrich, who would not say which potential candidate he would support in the Republican primary.

Gingrich also warned that Clinton's extensive experience in Washington could hamper a potential White House run, if she decides to launch another campaign.

"First lady, senator, Secretary Clinton is very famous for being famous. And as long as she can continue to be famous, she will be famous," he said, tying her time as secretary of state to rocky U.S.-Russian relations today.

"The moment this race becomes about substance, she will start losing support, literally overnight," said Gingrich.

Looking to the nearer future, Page cautioned that characterizing Republicans as obstructionist might have less power in November’s midterm elections, based on the results of a new USA Today/BPC poll. The national survey showed 51% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans say blocking bad laws should be a priority for Congress.

"We've seen a big shift in attitude toward what Congress should do," she said. "A majority now say, block bad laws. We also find Americans are more likely to say that we have this big political divide in America."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.


Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton • Rand Paul • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Name Uche Agonsi

    Yeaah, a factor but a negative one.

    March 24, 2014 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  2. Marie MD

    This Ayn Rand long lost twin should try to live by one of her quotes . . . ."The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities."
    The teaklans and this "libertarian" want to take away human rights. Talk is cheap.

    March 24, 2014 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  3. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    He will put his feet in his mouth like Newt did. Can't wait to see Grover Norquist and the GOBP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats 2012 Mitt the twit style.

    March 24, 2014 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  4. wise guy

    Oh, he's interesting, like train wreck interesting.

    March 24, 2014 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  5. marry

    Rand Paul? Really? And what are his credentials? What has he achieved in his time in Government (or live)? The 2016 GOP / TP Clown-Car is filling up again!

    March 24, 2014 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Is Paul using spying as a smoke screen to hide a different agenda? How can you trust Republicans after the sucker punch that they pulled in 2010? Remember that one? Repubilcans had campaigned on "jobs, jobs, jobs", for which they were rewarded with victories. Once sworn in, though, "jobs, jobs, jobs" was put on the back burner in favor of what Newt had called "radical right wing social engineering." And, we had found Rand Paul leading the charge for the radical right.

    March 24, 2014 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  7. What's in that Tea Anyway?

    @smith, tom I, fair, Ricky Mc D

    I know you folks want some doofus from the GOP to win the WH, but the President has a better chance of winning a third term. Do you know why? Ok, letting you in on a secret. People realize your constant disparaging of President Obama is clear evidence you realize none of your GOP hopefuls have the interest, ideas or the ability to raise the prospects of all Americans Besides let's be honest, your GOP candidates couldn't find the men's washroom let alone a plan .

    March 24, 2014 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  8. Al-NY,NY

    he will cave to the medieval leanings of the purity party agenda as soon as the primaries start and the others begin hammering away and labelling him a RINO. But please BLand....keep at it. Your presence will only cement the GOP's archaic views that turn off all but the most loyal sheep in the herd

    March 24, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  9. S.B. Stein

    Paul is an ideological idealist. The problem is that I don't see anything that shows how he would deal with the reality that people are not always honest and trustworthy. Nor do I see anything that shows that he understands the past actions of the US which have involved all of us in world affairs.

    March 24, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  10. Malory Archer

    My senile Aunt Tillie is "interesting" in the same way ayn rand paul is "interesting". However, she CLEARLY isn't qualified to run for President – in much the same way ayn rand paul isn't qualified.

    March 24, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  11. Dead Bear

    I definitely do not stand with Rand. But if he were to become President, I wouldn't scream and cry and throw temper tantrums like every Republican brat does now and would continue to do so if Hillary would be elected... Just in case you "patriots" have forgotten "United, we stand. Divided, we fall."

    March 24, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Rand Paul? A anti-government crusader? Nah. Since becoming a member of the do-doing congress, this dude's co-opted every thought he's ever had whining for media attention. He's as fake and worthless as a 3 dollar bill.

    March 24, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  13. Malory Archer

    Looking to the nearer future, Page cautioned that characterizing Republicans as obstructionist might have less power in November’s midterm elections, based on the results of a new USA Today/BPC poll. The national survey showed 51% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans say blocking bad laws should be a priority for Congress.

    "We've seen a big shift in attitude toward what Congress should do," she said. "A majority now say, block bad laws. We also find Americans are more likely to say that we have this big political divide in America."

    +++++++++++++++++++++

    Dems have ALWAYS believed that "bad" laws should be blocked. However, each side has their own opinion of which lasw are "bad" and vote accordingly.

    March 24, 2014 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  14. Malory Archer

    marry
    Rand Paul? Really? And what are his credentials? What has he achieved in his time in Government (or live)? The 2016 GOP / TP Clown-Car is filling up again!

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Well, there was that one time in his private life when he created his own Optometry certification after he REPEATEDLY failed the National Board of Optometry certification exam. That's gotta count for something! ;-)

    March 24, 2014 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. Anonymous

    "Host Candy Crowley said Paul's interesting because he’s "unpredictable on some issues."

    After 6 years of Obama, unpredictable isn't going to fly. Both were (are) junior senators selling dreams of their "fathers". America had it's little experiment in electing the inexperienced and by all intents and purposes, both sides agree selling dreams gets you nothing in return. Paul is a dreamer with little if any substance. We as a government need stability going forward, not speculation.

    March 24, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
1 2 3