Paul highlights bigger GOP 'tent' in meeting with top Romney donors
April 25th, 2014
01:36 PM ET
5 months ago

Paul highlights bigger GOP 'tent' in meeting with top Romney donors

(CNN) - They may seem like a bit of an odd couple - but Sen. Rand Paul met on Friday with top donors to Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign.

Paul, the first term Republican senator from Kentucky who's seriously considering a 2016 GOP bid for the White House, is known as someone who hails from the conservative/tea party wing of the party, and who also enjoys strong support from libertarians who backed his father's three campaigns for president. And Romney, considered the GOP establishment candidate in 2012, was never truly embraced by the grassroots.

But Friday, Paul met with Spencer Zwick, who served as Romney's finance director, and other former Romney donors, at the Boston offices of Solamere Capital, Zwick's private-equity firm.

Following the gathering, Zwick told CNN that "everyone enjoyed meeting with Sen. Paul," adding that Paul was “very well received.”

The senator said he was pleased with his meeting with Zwick and the other donors, according to Doug Stafford, a senior Paul political adviser.

Rand Paul on being ‘libertarian-ish’

Separately, a source familiar with the meeting said that about 10 to 12 Romney donors and bundlers attended, and that Paul took questions for about an hour after giving a 15 minute introduction. The source said the discussion was wide ranging, with topics such as politics, policy, privacy, immigration and economics, and that Paul emphasized his drive to increase the "tent" of the Republican party. While not a major topic, Paul did discuss his views on limited interventionism on foreign policy, which in theory would run counter to the sentiments of many of Romney's donors.

No one asked Paul if he was going to run for the White House in 2016, and the senator did not mention it, according to the source.

The get-together came a couple of hours before Paul crossed over the Charles River to neighboring Cambridge to addresses Harvard University's Institute of Politics.

Romney's emerging political role

A Republican strategist close to the Romney world said that while Paul may seem like an odd choice for Romney donors, the early battle for the 2016 GOP nomination is a wide open affair.

"Governor Romney's impressive donor network, developed over several years, is national in scope and in the market for a horse to ride in 2016. At first glance, Rand Paul may not be an obvious choice for them to rally behind, but it's hard to imagine a more wide open field as we head into primary season," said the strategist, who asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely.

Like Mitt, these donors are accomplished business and community leaders. They are clearly taking their due diligence very seriously, as they consider all angles in a developing field of candidates that has no clear frontrunner," the strategist said.

Paul's history with Romney may also be a factor behind Friday's meeting.

"Governor Romney and Congressman Ron Paul always had a good personal relationship during both the 2008 and 2012 campaigns. And the Romney campaign was grateful for Senator Paul's decision to formally endorse Governor Romney at the end of the primary season – something his father never did. Senator Paul was extremely helpful with outreach to liberty Republicans and the campaign's efforts to unite all factions of the party after we clinched the nomination," said Republican strategist Ryan Williams, who worked on both of Romney's presidential campaigns.

Paul also attended a summit of some major political and business leaders hosted by Romney last spring in Park City, Utah. Romney is hosting a similar gathering in June, and Paul is expected to attend. Three other possible Republican presidential contenders, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and 2008 GOP presidential candidate, and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Romney's 2012 running mate, are also expected to take part in the gathering.

Paul isn't the first GOP presidential hopeful to meet with Zwick. A source familiar with Friday's meeting told CNN that Zwick is expected to organize future sessions with other potential 2016 White House contenders.


Filed under: 2016 • Mitt Romney • Rand Paul
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Guest

    This guy should just shut up, no-one wants to listen to him.

    April 25, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. Winston Smith

    He said goodbye to reality, a long time ago.

    April 25, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  3. Libertarian_Terrorist

    How do you know rand is lying? His mouth is moving

    April 25, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. Tampa Tim

    Rand is a slow learner. The billionaires have chosen Jeb. Rand must not have gotten the memo. Or, maybe he is gearing up for 2024.

    April 25, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  5. A Random Guy

    If this guy ever is elected president the country would collapse the next day

    April 25, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  6. Vence

    No, not again!

    April 25, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  7. scarf

    Maybe he just wants to meet with them to get some money for better tailored suits and a better hairpiece....

    April 25, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. roger

    My money is on Christie in 2016.

    April 25, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. Al-NY,NY

    good job Rant...kissing up to the guy who helped Flip Flopney get pummelled in the election. Who is next..Simple Sarah?

    April 25, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. nintex

    I want so badly to send him a hairbrush and tell him to comb his hair.

    April 25, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Like Mitt, these donors are accomplished business and community leaders. They are clearly taking their due diligence very seriously, as they consider all angles in a developing field of candidates that has no clear frontrunner," the strategist said.
    -----------------------–
    Due diligence, huh. Are they trying to rationalize backing him? One look is all it should take. Rand Paul is a known plagiarist, which he has vehemently denied. Blamed his staff.

    If these folks are giving young Paul a serious vetting, then what does that say about Jeb Bush and Chris Christie? Does it man that they are out of the loop because neither one is looking like they would run?

    April 25, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. sly

    Rand Paul the racist Republican? Yeah, he'd get about 15% of the vote. And that would be the BEST the GOP can run out there.

    I think Independants will finish 2nd to Hillary in the next election – something like 60% Democrat, 25% Independant and the rest of the crumbs go GOP.

    April 25, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. CryBabies

    Rudy NYC...Wasn't Joe Biden A plagerist? Just bringing information important to you out in the open.

    April 25, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  14. Ol' Yeller

    He should really just get romney's pollsters... then he will lead by double digits until the votes are actually counted....
    A fantasy term is the most he can hope for anyway.

    April 25, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    @ CryBabies, Biden owned up to it, Paul rationalized it away. Where is your notion of personal responsibility, or is it different for your ilk? Must be, because you seem to be fine with Paul doing it.

    April 25, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    It's time for a qualified woman to be President.

    Hillary Clinton 2016!

    April 25, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. Tom

    Hey libbies, I see your boy, AG Airdick Holder had to cancel a speech at a police academy graduation in Oklahoma. Seems they have no respect for someone in his position who doesn't abide by the law himself. He'd be better off giving speeches in sheeple states like Californicate and New Yawk.

    And you think Rand can't be the next president? Hahaha, good. You keep living under that illusion. At this point, what does it really matter? Hahaha. Hillary. What a joke.

    April 25, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. Gurgyl

    --frankly speaking practically none of these idiots are worth for cook jobs in WH–let alone presidency. True.

    April 25, 2014 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  19. Tom

    Hey libbies, I see your boy, AG Airdick Holder had to cancel a speech at a police academy graduation in Oklahoma. Seems they have no respect for someone in his position who doesn't abide by the law himself. He'd be better off giving speeches in sheeple states like Californicate and New Yawk.

    And you think Rand can't be the next president? Hahaha, good. You keep living under that illusion. At this point, what does it really matter? Hahaha. Hillary. What a joke.

    April 25, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  20. Thomas

    Only Rand Paul understands the Greatness of the Aqua Buddha in today's world .

    BLM land is not a Libertarian concept .

    April 25, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. Pander Bear

    Rand Paul is an excellent example of a say anything, do anything, promise anything to get elected politician.

    April 25, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    @Tony D, your comment about 10 unions being equivilent to 1 Adelson is not even close. It takes about 30 unions to equal the money that Adelson or the Kochs have been able to put together. Those unions are comprised of people who want to make a living, not like the Kochs, who want to control every aspect of our lives and yet never be held accountable. Who sounds like they have more of our interests at heart, the man who wants to fire you to "save" money, or the organization that makes sure your health and safety standards are not being gutted by said oligarch?

    April 25, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. Malory Archer

    CryBabies

    Rudy NYC...Wasn't Joe Biden A plagerist? Just bringing information important to you out in the open.

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

    And then he became persona non grata for 2 decades. Get back to us when aqua buddah does the same.

    April 25, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  24. dannyCali

    He not going to get W.H. job, if your republican give money to him that mean your are so stupid.

    April 25, 2014 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  25. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    As he should he already changes stances just like him. And he panders to whomever he's talking to. He's Romney with less money and a curly Afro.

    RomPaul 2016????

    April 25, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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