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. don in abluqueque

    Oops, almost forgot. We also have a Shrub.

    March 8, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    Its Buzz Windrip! Read "It can't happen here" by Sincair Lewis. Our new fascist.

    March 8, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. John in Brooklyn

    As a Democrat, I say...GO FOR IT. It'll be like running against Sarah Palin!

    March 8, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. w l jones

    The more knowledge a person attain the sooner they find out they do not have enough background in our history to implement all the laws of our country.

    March 8, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. ronvan

    ROTFLMAO! These folks, the repuks, continue to dig their own grave and don't have the ability to recognize it!

    March 8, 2013 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. Mark in Seattle

    Look for Rand to add the letter G to lead off his first name. Thinks very highly of himself doesn't he?

    March 8, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. Jeff in Virginia

    Dana Bash should win an award for this scoop.... in fantasy land. Here in reality, it's just yet another breathless headline trying to sensationalize the obvious.

    March 8, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. Martha in CF

    Bring it on Rand Paul.....another loser like Romney!!!!!!!!!! You have nothing to offer the American people but hate.....

    March 8, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. ucjb

    DUH He's got my vote

    March 8, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  10. MDNA = MaDge Not Applicable!

    After the Rand does D.C. grandstanding, spectacle, I would say that observation source was Captain Obvious.

    March 8, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  11. Donkey Party

    I have a better shot at winning the Presidency, and I'm not even running.

    March 8, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  12. Yanni

    What is this? are we all lunatic now? to consider this little man to the presidency. His talent is insulting everyone and everybody even people he never has met before. I just have to dream for better days

    March 8, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  13. RINO Bill

    The father was unelectable ... the son will be unelectable.

    It almost sounds like the GOP wants a Democrat elected president in 2016.

    So far, Chris Christie is the only Republican for whom I would vote in '16.

    March 8, 2013 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. Alan

    LOSER! – 13 hours on CSPAN for nothing but his own interests..then just gives his dad...stay in Kentucky where the rest of the country would then be safe...2016, yeah, right, only in his dreams!

    March 8, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. norma jean

    I have some advice for Rand Paul...... don't waste your money. Without any major explanations we.. the voters...can tell you to forget it and save your money. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE ELECTED PRESIDENT IN' 16.....

    March 8, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  16. Leftcoastrocky

    Rand has nothing serious and credible to offer - an annoying distraction

    March 8, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  17. zandhcats

    Another free comedy show from Republican.

    March 8, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  18. Facts don't Lie

    sounds like another big waste of GOP and donor dollars to me.......just like his dad Rand Paul will NEVER be POTUS nor get the GOP nomination..THANK GOD!

    March 8, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  19. philojazz

    The more that people hear about Mr Rand Paul's beliefs and plans, the less likely it will be that he becomes the GOP nominee. Anyone seen the latest odds in Vegas on this guy?

    March 8, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  20. William

    Looking forward to seeing Rand Paul making a fool of himself, because even most GOP don't like him!

    March 8, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  21. David R

    That Rand dude is such a jokester.

    He's funnier than his old man.

    March 8, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  22. Woman In California

    Mr. "It's Okay to Discriminate" wants to run? Go right ahead Ayn run and see how far you get in a country where people have died and been hurt just to keep your kind from EVER getting in WH. I can't wait until you feel the "love" coming your way.

    March 8, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  23. ermentrude

    He doesn't have any chance, unless he can divest himself of his father's followers who are anti-semetic. Id he does that, then he has a small chance.

    March 8, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  24. rs

    Republicans can whine about the President of the United States all they want. Running this country however is more than just obstruction, filibuster and wacky ideas. Unfortunately- that's all they seem to be able to do.

    March 8, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  25. Maryellen

    Is this a joke? Actually it's very funny, run Rand run! Hillary 2016!

    March 8, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
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