February 10th, 2013
09:59 AM ET
8 years ago

Tea party address won't divide Republicans, Rand Paul says

(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul's tea party response to Tuesday's State of the Union address isn't intended to drive a wedge through the Republican Party, the Kentucky senator said Sunday.

Paul was tapped by the Tea Party Express to deliver Tuesday's response to President Barack Obama's speech. It's the third year the group has sponsored its own rebuttal to Obama's speech. The official Republican response will be delivered by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who like Paul was elected to the Senate in 2010 with support from the tea party.

Watch CNN's comprehensive coverage of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address starting Tuesday night at 7 p.m. ET on CNN TV and follow online at CNN.com or via CNN's apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. Follow our real-time State of the Union live blog at cnn.com/conversation.

"I see it as an extra response. I don't see it as necessarily divisive," Paul told chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on the CNN program "State of the Union."

"I won't say anything on there that necessarily is like, 'Marco Rubio is wrong,'" Paul continued. "He and I don't always agree, but this isn't about he and I. This is about the tea party, which is a grass-roots movement, a real movement, with millions of Americans that still are concerned about some of the deal-making that goes on in Washington."

Both Paul and Rubio are considered potential candidates for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, and both their speeches come at a time when national Republicans are debating the best path forward after an electoral trouncing in 2012.

A new group co-founded by veteran GOP strategist Karl Rove will seek to propel the most electable GOP candidates through the primary process in upcoming contests, which some grass-roots Republicans have blasted as a move to make the party more moderate.

Republicans are seeking ways to make themselves more appealing to a wider array of voters after losing among all demographics except white males in November. Rubio, featured on the cover of Time magazine this week as "The Republican Savior," has been a leading voice for comprehensive immigration reform in the Senate, which some Republicans have favored after losing big among Latinos.

Paul pushed back Sunday on the notion that Rubio, or any other Republican, has been anointed as the "face" of the Republican Party, making the case that Republican lawmakers sometimes have different priorities.

"I don't think anybody gets to choose who the face is, or say you or someone else is the face. I think we do the best to promote what we believe in," Paul said, pointing to his own vocal opposition to sending U.S. foreign aid money to certain countries like Egypt and Pakistan.

"There are things that distinguish a lot of different Republicans. It doesn't make them bad or me right or them wrong. What it means there is a tea party wing that's interested in not sending money to people who are not acting like our allies," Paul said.

Filed under: Rand Paul
soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. ga.democrat

    The GOP/Tea Party can't put together one response to the state of the union and people wonder why congress can't work together to get anything done for the good of this country. These losers can't agree on anything other than obstructionism. Not sure why anyone would even care what they have to say.

    February 11, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. tony

    Don't forget...these power hungry & status quo fanatics were willing to see their own country (neighbor) go down the drain 2 make themselves look good & gain control of the pot of gold!!!

    February 11, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  3. JB

    All news networks should ignore the Tea Party response. If they are not willing to become their own party their response should come through the party they are a part of which is the Republicans. Feel free to become a REAL party, until then you are just TEA people.

    February 11, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. Coast Ranger

    The Teaparty didn't divide the Republican party. The conservative right got tired of pretend Republicans and the Teaparty grew from that discontent.

    February 11, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. ggram

    The Tea Party has turned into a bunch of extremists ultra right wing-nuts...but as long as they split the GOP vote and influence I guess I'm all for it.

    February 11, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. RR

    Face it, the Tea Party is the No Party as far as I am concern. Let them run as a party. I suppose the Tea Party knows that they would be nothing without lacking itself onto the Republicans.

    February 11, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC


    One comment said the party was hijacked by extremists. Why so divisive? Does the Democrat party agree on everything?
    Lets's agree on one thing. It is called the "Democratic Party". Yes, the Republican is being hijacked by extremists. Young Rand Paul is just one of many, but typical of most all. How do I define extremism? One way is by looking at some of what Paul has espoused in the past.

    He's called for the repeal of the Civil Rights Act on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. He said that a business owner has the right to not allow certain people into his store because he has a right to be a bigot. If that is not divisive language, then please tell me what is. No Senator has come close to saying anything that racially biased in decades.

    February 11, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. JeffersonLives

    I love this guy Rand, like his father he preaches a humble foreign policy, responsible fiscal policy, and promotes freedom. Something that the 99 percent of commenters here cannot understand. Most here prefer the double speaking likes of Bush or Obama. Like Bush's humble foreign policy...lol. And who could forget Obama's transparency and close down GITMO promises....haha...yet here ya all are trashing a man who comes from a family of honesty and statesmenship, a family of healers, Rand himself performs eye surgeries pro-bono when he has time, but does that please the welfare queens on this site...NOPE. Ya all just keep spewing the same old establishment punchlines..."He's against civil rights...aqua buddha.....abortion...blaa..blaa..blaa". Its no wonder this place is losing viewership in mass. Oh and @RS....I do know, you might not, but I do. Oh and FYI...he's not named after Ayn Rand as you implicated, his name is Randal and has always gone by Rand as a shortened version....And he nor his father have ever completely endorsed all the preachings of Ayn Rand....one only need to do some actual reading to know this...Come on people don't you have any better comebacks than the old racist, anti-civil rights punchlines..which are boloney anyway.

    February 11, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. jim

    "I see it as an extra response. I don't see it as necessarily divisive"

    yeah right

    February 11, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. Mary

    Sniffit, I like you post. My feelings exactly. The SOTU address that Pres. Obama gives tomorrow will have lots of pragmatic ideas on what we should do to repair the economy, take care of the elderly and the sick, help the poor out of poverty (jobs, jobs, jobs), deal with immigration based on the current situation and not how we wish it were, all to no avail. The Repubs and Rand will talk about cutting spending and not raising taxes as if that will solve things. When you cut government spending, you add to the rolls of the unemployed which will make the economy worse...not better. But in Rand's world the haves are better than the have-nots and therefore deserve more and better and the rest of us should just shut up and be doormats.

    February 11, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    nilla wrote:

    I thought there was no "tea party movement" or leadership, and that it's really just small, unaffiliated groups with a common ideology? At least, that's what some want you to believe.
    Believe it or not, when the "Tea Party Express" was formed, its' chairman had their office inside RNC headquarters right next door to the office of the public relations director. Same builing. Same floot. Almost the same room.

    February 11, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. luke,az

    Place your bets, When will the Republican party implode into the groups; moderates,evangelicals and tea partiers ?

    February 11, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. JeffersonLives

    @ Coast Ranger, you nailed it. The Tea Party is merely the resurrgence of the old right that has come to challenge the fake republicans that have dominated the GOP for the last few decades. This isnt so much about division as it is about control of the party, its an old fight going back to the Rockefeller and Goldwater days, its only more amplified now with the internet and Ron Paul's influence....Freedom is back and turns out that it's popular. Oh and how is that drone killing americans program going for all the civil liberty loving leftys'....LOL, turns out the only people outraged by stuff like this are true civil libertarians like Rand Paul and his father and other likeminded supporters. Boom...now what?

    February 11, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  14. carlos

    rand and marco........the two imbeciles rather than the three stooges ...hehehe

    February 11, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. Laurie

    I'm not sure I understand why there are two Republican responses to President Obama's State of the Union address. Can't the GOP agree enough to elect one person to respond or are they themselves so divided that they can't agree on one response? If they can't agree in their own party, what are the chances that both GOP's will agree with Democrats and pass meaningful legislation? This doesn't bode well for compromise.

    February 11, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. Richard Miller

    This idiot has no clue. Oh how I wish that they would all crawl back under their rocks and let this good country return to sanity and a working government.

    February 11, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    JeffersonLives wrote:

    ....Freedom is back and turns out that it's popular. Oh and how is that drone killing americans program going for all the civil liberty loving leftys'....LOL, turns out the only people outraged by stuff like this are true civil libertarians like Rand Paul and his father and other likeminded supporters. Boom...now what?
    So what you're saying is that that guy from a week ago who killed a bus driver, kidnapped a kid, and then holed himself up in an underground bunker should not have been killed. He was an individual threatening lives of innocent Americans. One who already killed people.

    February 11, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. Cynthia

    What a good laugh. The whole purpose of the Tea Party is to divide and conquer. The GOP is nothing like it was even 20 years ago. Funny, but one of the most conservative GOP Senators in history, Barry Goldwater, warned the GOP starting in the '70's how extremists and religious fundamentalists would try and take over the GOP, stating that would fracture the GOP..":And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of “conservatism.”
    ~Barry Goldwater
    Reagan would be disgusted with today's GOP; fighting Hagel's nomination and other dysfunctional extremism. Many are ignoring the extremism in order to obtain their particular desire, presuming to dictate their beliefs on the rest of us. In a way, this internal destruction of the GOP is only beneficial to moderates and liberals. I, however, am not happy about the loss of a reasonable opposition. I may be considered a moderate/liberal, but I thing we need other views and options, but people who are intolerant and refuse to work with the other party are dangerous to our Constitution and ability to have any workable government.

    February 11, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "because hey, we've done a great job obstructing all progress and keeping the the economy in a slow recovery with our manufactured crises and hostage shenanigans, so isn't it just time to let us have our way yet? Don't you see? We're going to prevent anything the other side tries and the only way things are going to stop being completely stagnant and tied in knots in Congress is if everyone just let's us get our way, so isn't it time to just do that? Otherwise, you only have yourselves and the Dems to blame for forcing us to break the government."
    Sniffit you've outdone yourself yet again.
    Yes. Yes. Yes!!!!!
    That last line of yours especially: "Otherwise, you only have yourselves and the Dems to blame for forcing us to break the government." sums up what has been these unpatriotic bastards intentions since Pres. Obama took office.
    Excellent post, my friend.

    February 11, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. Nero

    This woman is disgusting. She's politicizing tragedy.

    February 11, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. Nancy

    The Tea Party is not only Republicians it is Demorcrats also. It is people that is unsatifed how things are going in the Goverment. The are more alined with what Republicians stand for. Demorcrat was one that called me to join the Tea Party, I am not a member of the Tea Party.

    February 11, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. ugh

    Why are the lib's bashing Rand Paul, when their own party hs taken the American people over the waterfall? Most Americans are so busy eating handouts and freebies, they don't even know what is sustainable any more!

    February 11, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. MaryM

    And the clowns of the tea party continue to divide the GOP. Get rid of these obstructionist Republicans before they completely destroy the once great Republican party

    February 11, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. Getitright

    As far as I know, no one in the house or senate has a "T" after their name. Why on earth do we keep giving in to these folks?

    February 11, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. Boomer in Mo

    Too late.

    February 11, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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