August 5th, 2014
12:56 AM ET
3 months ago

In Iowa, Rand Paul makes case for more compassionate GOP

OKOBOJI, Iowa (CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul brought his recent crusade for a more compassionate Republican Party to the northwest part of Iowa on Monday, appealing to a crowd of social conservatives at a fundraiser for Rep. Steve King.

The Kentucky Republican made his push for sentencing reform in the criminal justice system, the laws of which "disproportionately affect African Americans and Hispanics," Paul said.

"Until you show that you care about them and that you want to do something about them, you're not going to win," he told the audience. "So if we want to win, we're going to have to change."

Paul is on a three-day swing across the state, stopping in eight cities and appearing at multiple events for local politicians as he prepares for a potential presidential run. Iowa traditionally holds the first caucuses in presidential election years.

The fundraiser Monday took place at the Barefoot Bar near Okoboji Lake, an island-themed enclave among the green cornfields of northern Iowa. Dressed in a multi-colored striped shirt - "This is the best party shirt I've got," he said - Paul delivered a lengthy address, tackling a laundry list of issues that he frequently talks about. He delivered familiar lines on wasteful government spending, Benghazi, the IRS and the NSA's domestic phone surveillance program.

While he didn't go into detail about his recent criminal justice proposals, the senator has been teaming up with Democrats to introduce legislation that reduces penalties for nonviolent drug offenders and helps restores voting rights to felons who've completed their sentences.

Paul tried to frame his reform agenda in a narrative familiar to evangelical voters.

"Many of us are Christians, we believe in a second chance in our religion. Anybody here who's not a sinner, raise their hand," he said. "We believe in redemption should the law allow people a second chance. I think if we'll be more of a compassionate party who believes in that and believes that people in poverty needs a second chance, maybe we can do something for Detroit."

He stressed that "it doesn't have to be a bailout or a handout," but encouraged Republicans to preach the economic benefits of reducing taxes in broke places like Detroit and "show that we do care about people who are poor, who live in bad circumstances."

King, who's popular among social conservatives, described Paul as someone with promise. But he also sought to contrast the senator from his father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who garnered a significant following in Iowa during his 2008 and 2012 presidential runs.

"(Rand) is his own man, and I want him to have the room to lay out his own platform and agenda, and I don't want to say the Ron Paul agenda is the Rand Paul agenda. I've heard him say enough times he is different from his father," King told reporters, but he added that he likes how they both share a "foundational respect for the Constitution."

While Ron Paul was popular among the libertarian-leaning faction of Iowa's Republican Party - and helped grow that part of the party - he still failed to win the state's caucuses. If Rand Paul runs for President, he'll need to win support from the party's mainstream Republicans and social conservatives, as well.

"Ron Paul's been very, very successful in Iowa," King said. "And that may translate into more success for Rand, and it may translate into something less."

Paul's fundraiser with King has come under fire, as Democrats point to King's recent push in favor of impeaching President Obama.

"Rand Paul may like to say he's a new type of Republican, but today he's proving he's not," Michael Czin, press secretary for the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement.


Filed under: GOP • Iowa • Rand Paul • Republican • Republican Party
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    Compassionate conservatism won George W. Bush the White House in 2000,

    " Fool me once, shame, shame on you..... It fooled me you can't get fooled again"

    Rand Paul tries so hard , like Mitt Romney , GW Bush , Rand Paul has daddy issues .

    August 5, 2014 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  2. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid the repub/tea bag majority.

    We've heard this before – and suckers have only themselves to blame if they believe this "compassionate conservative" crap again.

    August 5, 2014 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  3. ThinkAgain - Don't like Congress? Get rid the repub/tea bag majority.

    Talk is cheap – and the GOP/tea bags' actions speak volumes, so loudly that a majority of American voters have heard them and will send them packing on November 4, 2014.

    August 5, 2014 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  4. Mr. Balls

    Compassionate Republican has gone extinct.

    August 5, 2014 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  5. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP THE NATIONAL JOKE PARTY , WE WONT PASS ANYTHING AND STILLGET PAID

    Yea OK, how is that possible when your AGAINEST everything the MAJORITY of voters are for. The majority of voters want gun control , increase of minimum wage, extension of unemployment , voter NON-INTERFERENCE ,equal pay for equal work for WOMAN and stopping your SztUPID IMPEACHMENT TALK. The ONLY WAY the GOP clowns can WIN an election is thru gerrymandering to get in their GOP EXTREMEST and SUBVERSIVES like king Cruz The teahage TRAMP BACHMAN and BLACKBURN and you GOP idiots THINKS they are going to get reelected?????

    August 5, 2014 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  6. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Dopey Rand Paul and Raphael Cruz can forget about 2016. Really can't wait to see Thad Cochran,Kevin McCarthy,Thom Tillis,Sheldon Adelson,Rupert Mourdoch,Karl Rove,Lindsey Graham,John McCain,Susan Collins,Hayley Barbour,Grover Norquist and the desperate GOP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats EXACTLY like they stuffed Romney down. Straight no chaser. Hillary will drink to that!

    August 5, 2014 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  7. vikingwoman

    Why are all these GOTP'ers still harping on the 'compassionate conservative' angle when it's clear none of them want anything to do w/it, none willing to take the 1st step!? Don't talk, do! It's that simple, but it clashes w/the GOTP platform! If they don't care for women, children, Blacks, Hispanics, gays, elderly, poor, President Obama;), etc, they won't suddenly have the warm & fuzzies for felons! Besides, it's all election talk, words forgotten as soon as they're said! Paul is good at that!!

    August 5, 2014 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  8. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP THE NATIONAL JOKE PARTY , WE WONT PASS ANYTHING AND STILLGET PAID

    Hey Cruz, I have a message for you, people like you and ONLY four or five other TEATRASH like Bachman king Blackman , labdor and that new clown talking about obamas war on white people are a prime example of GOP STUPIDITY !!!!!!!

    August 5, 2014 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  9. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Didn't this guy plagiarize too? I don't recall hearing anyone telling him to step down.....

    August 5, 2014 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    Compassion is not the issue.......stupidity is the issue. We should NOT be taken for idiots, by anyone who chooses to break our laws.

    August 5, 2014 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  11. The Real Tom Paine

    There's the key, getting them to do something. It can't be about tax breaks for the wealthy, or repealing legislation, or threatening to impeach people, or labeling them as being dependent upon the government and therefore not worth the effort, so the Senator has his work cut out for him.

    August 5, 2014 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    Sorry Ricky, that ship sailed a long time ago: did you get your ticket for a ride on the SS Conservative?

    August 5, 2014 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Until you show that you care about them and that you want to do something about them, you're not going to win," he told the audience
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Here's the thing, you can't be compassionate if you don't care...about THEM.
    And the GOPeeing Teatards simply don't care about THEM or you unless you've got millions.
    Very simple really.
    Rand, how about just saying that you have to "care" and leaving the "them" part out of the equation, that might make for a more credible effort towards empathy on your part.

    August 5, 2014 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  14. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Compassionate? Republicans don't know what that even means!

    August 5, 2014 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  15. Al Lewis

    Rand, when are you going to wash that muskrat pelt sitting on top of your head?

    August 5, 2014 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  16. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Rick McDaniel
    Compassion is not the issue.......stupidity is the issue. We should NOT be taken for idiots, by anyone who chooses to break our laws.

    I agree! W., Dick, Condi and Rummy should be tried for war crimes!

    August 5, 2014 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    This guy is starting to remind of a "B" horror movie. Woman [voters] meets nice man, Paul. He romances her. They get married [he wins election]. Suddenly, the demon in the man comes out. "I'm in charge, now.!" Turns out, all of the romance was just an act so that he could impose his will on everyone.

    August 5, 2014 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  18. J Anthony

    @Real Tom Paine: good comment. @Rick McD: do you not understand the meaning of the word "hypocrisy?" You epitomize it.

    August 5, 2014 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  19. Tampa Tim

    Chris..E.Al
    @ Tampa t your into reproductive rights and all you make a good advacate so here.s the one finger to the solution that i lift to help you she ant dumb .
    ?
    ----–
    I think the person posting under multiple names should get a real job. Fair, Yolanda, Chris, Wes, Name Willard Bullock post identical compassionate conservative messages,

    August 5, 2014 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  20. janet

    Mr Paul needs to check in with his party – he's preaching "compassion" and another GOP congressman is screaming that Obama/Democrats have a "war on whites". Get your stories straight, boys!

    August 5, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  21. Throw OUT all Democrat D-Baggers from Congress

    The Kentucky Republican made his push for sentencing reform in the criminal justice system, the laws of which "disproportionately affect African Americans and Hispanics," Paul said.
    --–

    I don't care what their race or skin color is, if they commit crimes, they go to prison. Criminals are criminals. We don't need any affirmative action plan for criminals!! If you commit the crime, DO THE TIME!! Rand fails to understand that most of these minority criminals prey on others in their own community. Letting them out of prison only raises the crime rate and creates more victims in these communities. Show the past and future victims of these criminals compassion and keep them locked up!!

    August 5, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  22. Longtimer

    Yeah, Bush called for "compassionate Conservatism" too. How'd that work out? The GOP has no heart and it has no soul. It claims to be inspired by Christianity, but apparently has never actually read the Bible (what with its hatred of strangers, refugee children, and its approval of starving poor American children, removing child labor laws, and more and more).
    I am heartened to hear Paul- a possible frontrunner mention this- but as the GOP is a party of congenital liars, and that Mr. Paul viciously flip-flops.... well, I won't buy from that cart ever again.

    August 5, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  23. rs

    Rick McDaniel
    Compassion is not the issue.......stupidity is the issue. We should NOT be taken for idiots, by anyone who chooses to break our laws.
    ______________________
    Well, you're right on one point- you can't fix stupid. So what do we do about the GOP?

    August 5, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  24. Malory Archer

    Tampa Tim
    Chris..E.Al
    @ Tampa t your into reproductive rights and all you make a good advacate so here.s the one finger to the solution that i lift to help you she ant dumb .
    ?
    --–
    I think the person posting under multiple names should get a real job. Fair, Yolanda, Chris, Wes, Name Willard Bullock post identical compassionate conservative messages,

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

    The chris e personality needs to invest in a really good whatever language he speaks to English dictionary. That word salad he posted in a epically failed attempt to insult Tampa Tim looks like vomit at best.

    August 5, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  25. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Tampa Tim says:
    August 5, 2014 09:07 am at 9:07 am
    Chris..E.Al
    @ Tampa t your into reproductive rights and all you make a good advacate so here.s the one finger to the solution that i lift to help you she ant dumb .
    ?
    ————–
    I think the person posting under multiple names should get a real job. Fair, Yolanda, Chris, Wes, Name Willard Bullock post identical compassionate conservative messages,

    In all fairness Tampa Tim, Fair and yolanda seem to have a lot more on the ball than Chris, Wes, Willard and just spewing. Fair and yolanda seem intelligent, the others don't. I'm sure there are plenty posting under multiple names though. Chris is from AL, enough said there...

    August 5, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
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