March 8th, 2013
03:46 PM ET
9 years ago

Source: Paul has sights set on 2016

(CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, is so serious about running for president, he is actively taking all the steps "that someone in his position should be making," a GOP source familiar with Paul's activities told CNN.

His activities and travel plans indicate he wants to be a serious candidate with a real path to victory, the source said. He would be running to win-not to make a statement, an approach that his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, embraced in the most recent presidential election.

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The first-term senator, who dominated national headlines this week with his nearly-13 hour filibuster, is staying in touch with grassroots activists who supported him and his father. Both Pauls are known for their libertarian leanings-though the younger Paul has notably struggled to woo some of his father's most ardent supporters.

According to the GOP source, Paul has a robust email list with more than two million addresses. He's been trying to build new relationships among grassroots supporters, by signing letters and sending emails for groups.

He's also been active in establishing relationships and building an informal finance committee. His team has been working to find donors with big pockets to supplement the small donor component of his and his father's political operation.

He plans to travel to South Carolina, which holds the first-in-the-nation primary, in the not too distant future, the source said. Paul made "soft promises" to people in other early voting states, including New Hampshire, Iowa and Nevada. The senator, however, doesn't think those trips are all that critical at this early stage, the source said.

In January, Paul also stoked speculation of a 2016 bid when he went to the Middle East and met with leaders in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian leadership.

But how does the son differentiate himself from his father, who ran for president three times, on the national political stage?

"At the end of the day, Ron saw himself as a truth teller but he hated politics. He didn't want to think about how to message things. He wanted to travel around and speak truth and let chips fall where they may," the source said. "Rand wants to be honest and truthful and principled, but he is very conscious of his messaging and language. He wants to make a winning political argument."

Rand Paul is also trying to stake out his own claim in terms of foreign policy. While Ron is very much a non-interventionist, Rand is trying to forge a "third way" – comparing himself to George W. Bush circa 1999. He doesn't want to nation-build and he wants to be less bellicose and less aggressive than other Republicans, but still be aggressive and engaged in the world.

With the help of Senate Minority Leader and fellow Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul was put on the foreign relations committee (over the objections of some more traditional Republicans). That position gives him more credible experience on foreign policy–a topic many struggle with on the campaign trail.

Filed under: 2016 • Kentucky • Rand Paul
soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Is this man wearing a toupee, or is Squidward sitting on his head?

    March 8, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. Former GOP

    The first term Senator wants to be President. He has high hopes, high hopes, high apple pie in the sky hopes!

    March 8, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  3. Proud Progressive

    Typical spoiled little snot. Probably got his butt handed to him every day in high school.

    March 8, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. Jeff O'Dette

    I'd rather have my cat as pres more than this loser.

    March 8, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. Wake up People!

    You don't say??? Really??? Who would have thunk it??

    People, don't forget this Shirley Temple look-a-like is the VERY same man that said if he had been around during the Civil Rights struggle, he would have voted against it. He's the same man that thinks it's ok to discriminate against whomever you want to.

    Dems we must work hard to keep people like Curley top as far away from the White House as possible or some of us may very well find ourselves on the back of the bus once again.

    Remember his name, Mr. I would have voted against Civil Rights. And vote please.

    March 8, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. Jinx9to88

    He may get 4% of the vote!!! All from the tea baggers.

    March 8, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    Real Americans don't support dynasties.

    March 8, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    He should know that the country is ready for the libertarian policies. There are still many things that people need and want from the government; not aware how many things are coming from the government as well. Rand Paul won't get far; maybe as far as Ron Paul which was having a group of rabid fans who DON'T VOTE which will guarantee that he won't get elected.

    March 8, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. PJ

    He is obviously short-sighted.

    March 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. Bill

    Well folks, the 2016 GOP comedy of presidential candidates begins. Apparently, nothing was learned during the last two election cycles. This little whelp is a joke, at best.

    March 8, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. AZ Girl

    Dear Rand,

    Please run, please. Would LOVE to see you on the ticket. It would save us a lot of advertising money.

    Signed, the DNC

    March 8, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. don in abluqueque

    Hey AquaBuddha. I dont think so.

    March 8, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. Curt

    He'll have to move Rubio out of the way. Either one of them is a very scary thought.

    March 8, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    I knew the 13 hour FIlibuster Man want to be president. The 2016 GOPer class is shaping up to be the worst in history (and that's saying a lot, given the last batch).

    March 8, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. Marie MD

    Is that arm up just a little too close to his hero hitler with Heil hitler!?
    This racist can't stop mentioning hitler in any of his speeches. No, he is not calling anyone, according to him hitler, but hitler this and hitler that is all he talks about.
    Holding your wee wee for 13 hours does not a presidential candidate make. Why do these cretins think that filibustering drones which has already been explained and wasting time in congress (you got me there) and wasting taxpayer money is a good thing for the country?
    He is not even a real doctor!!!

    March 8, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    Well, that was a given the day he did his first interview. He flubbed that interview as surely as he'll flub his first and only presidential wannabe tour.

    March 8, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    Those aren't sights. Randroid is wandering around with a Fisher-Price ViewMaster superglued to his orbital bones feedback-looping slides of the time he played Hamilton in his elementary school play about the founding of our country.

    March 8, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain: We don't have a spending problem; we have a Republican problem

    The only reason his dad stayed in the 2012 race was to keep the Paul name in the news for Rand.

    Hope everyone takes a moment to research two things:

    1) The woman (Ayn Rand) for whom Sen. Paul is named. Self-centered, nasty piece of work, that one (your choice as to whom I am referring, him or her).

    2) The "professional" organization Paul invented (ational Board of Ophthalmology) as an end-run around the real organization's licensing rules. Tells you eveything you need to know about what kind of person he is.

    March 8, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. Pander Bear

    No kiddin'? And I thought his filibuster stunt was because he cared so much about freedom – unless you're a black person who wants to sit at a "Whites Only" lunch counter.

    March 8, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. YBM

    After reading these blogs for a few months, now I understand why the left are called "useful idiots."

    March 8, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain: We don't have a spending problem; we have a Republican problem

    He'll never get the GOP nomination, but may run as a third-party candidate because of his teabagger and Libertarian support. Would split the GOP vote ... COOL!

    March 8, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. Flyspec

    Wow! It almost makes me dizzy listening to this person. If nothing else, he's allowed his ego to run away with itself.

    March 8, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. Romney is Still NOT My Hero

    @Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Is this man wearing a toupee, or is Squidward sitting on his head?

    No, that squirrel superglued to the top of his dome is to make sure this dunce cap doesn't fall off during wizard school.

    March 8, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  24. don in abluqueque

    Well, here they come. We have a Rube, an AquaBuddha, now if Salamander would jump back in we could push start that clown car.

    March 8, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  25. The REAL Truth...

    This is typical Repug banter – much like the useless commentary above from YMB.
    Do nothing, get paid big $$, get free publicity for being a Grand Obstructionist Party member who should be working FOR the country not AGAINST it.
    If you thought Ron Paul was a kook, he's got nothing on his son..

    March 8, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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