Paul highlights bigger GOP 'tent' in meeting with top Romney donors
April 25th, 2014
01:36 PM ET
8 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. Rudy NYC

    CryBabies

    Rudy NYC...Wasn't Joe Biden A plagerist? Just bringing information important to you out in the open.
    -------------------------–
    If he was, he wasn't the repeat offender and DENIER that Rand Paul has been. Paul has a litany list of flaws, beginning with his well-known position on the Civil Rights Act and the misguided concept that bigotry is a form of freedom of speech. Sorry, being unkind and impolite to your fellow man is not something that people have a right to do. Being noxious and obnoxious isn't a right. It's ignorace. Case in point, Mr. Bundy, and all of those who rushed to defend him, including Rand Paul.

    April 25, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. Rudy

    I live in Louisville and the people of Kentucky want him to shut his mouth as well. Huge embarrassment for KY. Does he actually think he could win a national election? HA!

    April 25, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    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.
    ---–
    Republicans no longer accept free speech in OK. That's' too bad that the Taliban is in charge of OK. You wingnuts must be very proud. In truth, I am sure that a Holder would have shown up if he wasn't busy. Just keep doing the touchdown dance at the 50 yard line.

    April 25, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    Well, there you go. The anti-establishment candidate is pandering to the establishment. Kind of reminds me of John Huntsman's well oiled weather vane meme he used against Mitt Romney.

    April 25, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. TiredOfPaying

    Sometimes, Mitt Doesn't Happen.

    April 25, 2014 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. jack2

    Paul is a guy to watch and listen to, he's sharp as a razor. I'm listening to his stance on the issues. I like Paul Ryan also. After Obama we need some honest and capable politicians.

    April 25, 2014 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. jack2

    To the commenter WakeupPeople ...You commented that rand paul changes stances. You mean like Obama selling out his proinciples like he did on gay marraige to get gay votes?

    April 25, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. CryBabies

    Rudy NYC.. The simple answer...."yes, he was" Point made.

    April 25, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. spudnik56

    Wow...too little, way too late...

    April 25, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  10. Found star

    Yeah..another round of Ryan who changes his mind as much as he changes underwear(hoping he does)..He is as deep as veneer and as honest as a 3 dollar bill..

    April 25, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Mark in Seattle

    The hair just isn't presidential. And what's under it.....even less so.

    April 25, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. ANNIER

    Jack2....you're "listening to his stance on the issues"...Well, wait five minutes; his stance will change! Only a fool and a tool would be stupid enough to vote for Rant Paul, who is no more a republican than I am; he is a John Bircher in every respect.

    April 25, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @jack2: "Paul is a guy to watch and listen to, he's sharp as a razor. I'm listening to his stance on the issues. I like Paul Ryan also. After Obama we need some honest and capable politicians."

    Rants 'n' Ryan believe in failed policies that benefit those already well off at the expense of everyone else. Their blind allegiance to these failed policies indicates either meanness and a smallness of spirit or mental illness.

    Ditto for anyone who supports them.

    April 25, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Ol' Yeller

    @jack2

    "Paul is a guy to watch and listen to, he's sharp as a razor. I'm listening to his stance on the issues. I like Paul Ryan also. After Obama we need some honest and capable politicians."

    Then you should name some. paul is a guy to watch crash and burn. He will get hammered in the primary for many, many reasons... not the least being his trashing of reagan (he actually just told the truth, but you cannot do that to republicants w/o paying the price). He won't ever make it in a National race... talks out of both sides of his mouth and plagiarises others. paul ryan... what a joke. Little eddie munster got the free ride to the top off the 'evil' entiltements he now wants to cut to the bone so he can buy more outdated tanks and planes and give even more tax breaks to his owners. The ryan budget is one of the Dems best weapons to beat the gop (guardians of the rich) over the head with.
    You are dreaming if you think either of these guys will top a winning ticket.

    April 25, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Well Jack I changed my stance on it too. Being raised in the church it was instilled in my head it was wrong. However after being discriminated against myself I decided there is no way I could discriminate against anyone.

    It's called growing up. Try it sometime. But my dislike of Ayn Rand, Jr comes from him saying if he had been around during the Civil Rights Era, he would have been against it.

    Toodles!!!

    April 25, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @jack2: "To the commenter WakeupPeople ...You commented that rand paul changes stances. You mean like Obama selling out his proinciples like he did on gay marraige to get gay votes?"

    President Obama's principles on gay marriage changed over time – in a consistent direction. Rants 'n' Ryan will say anything to please their puppet master financial backers. Their hypocrisy is astounding, too, claiming to love freedom while taking away a woman's choice to do what she wants with her body and claiming to be holier-than-thou while proposing economic policies that hurt the least among us.

    April 25, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. Loathstheright

    Code for – we need to convince more ignorant rubes to vote for republicans.

    April 25, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. David

    Rich, arrogant fools throwing good money at another bad prospect.

    April 25, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @Tom: Wow, wordplay, the sign of an intelligent person – NOT!

    BTW, if New York is good enough for you to thumb your chest about when you slam Muslims, then why isn't it good enough otherwise?

    April 25, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    CryBabies

    Rudy NYC.. The simple answer...."yes, he was" Point made.
    --------------------------------–
    Okay, I'll let you have my point. It's Friday. I'll even join you in ignoring the facts. Biden owned up to it. Paul was a repeat offender, denied any involvement, and blamed his staff. I'd say that that is the caliber of all-star performance that one comes to expect out of a conservative. Ditto, for your denials. But, it is stil your point, though. Enjoy.

    April 25, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  21. Malory Archer

    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.

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

    Rather disingenuous of you there little tommy. It wasn't the academy grads who were protesting – it was a bunch of angry rethug elected officials crying and stomping their feet because they want the AG impeached, although they've yet to provide a coherent reason for impeachment.

    Nice try, but we gotcha!

    April 25, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  22. Joseph

    Oh man. Imagine the pompous clowns at this event. Great food but terrible conversation i bet.

    April 25, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. David

    jack2– Rand's not smart enough to write his own speeches and has to reduce to plagiarizing and then lying through his teeth about it. Razor sharp? LOL what ever. the guys about as sharp as a sack of wet mice.

    April 25, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. Coley

    Will someone please get him a comb? Also, where is his new Director of a Communications, Cliven Bundy?

    April 25, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  25. ermentrude

    To Annier: I am listening to him. I see someone trying to make sense of a scattered electorate, and drawing new lines, amongst them, that are not the typical D/R party lines. I am not going to count him out.

    April 25, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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