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. Jeb

    Another right wing nut living so deep inside a conservative bubble that he won't have to face reality until he loses.

    March 8, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  2. Sam in Houston

    From all the corrupted politicians in Washington (Democrats and Republicans alike), I will vote for this Rand Paul because he is not a follower. He voted for Hagel and he gave a hard time to Bremmer. Both acts were against the "Establishment".

    March 8, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. Uncle Sam


    March 8, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. MadSat

    If the GOP wants to double down on the "all persons are born with equal opportunities" nonsense they've been peddling, they are certainly welcome to do so. Everyone outside a few gated communities know that to be nonsense. What's really funny is that they point to government work (usually military) as "proof" that anyone can make it in the "real world".
    Rand Paul is the number one spokesman for "we're all equal already, this needs no protection", and him running is a flat out guarantee that Democrats will take it all in 2014 and 2016. You heard it here first!

    March 8, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. Thomas

    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)


    This is why America has slid behind in education. Why would you appoint a guy like Rand Paul to the foreign relations comity ? So he can learn on the job training ? Why not give him a Nuclear Submarine , make him caption . Let him learn on the job . We have a big failure in experience when it comes to State and Foreign affairs.

    The good thing is Rand Paul know's how to look presidential when pointing his finger , As shown in the above image.

    March 8, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  6. Liz the First

    And there will probably be a few thousand folks stupid enough to actually vote for him. he's a joke and he proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt with his 'filablizzard.'

    March 8, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  7. Dnick47

    Droning American citizens... I wanna see his psych. evaluation!

    March 8, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  8. andrew

    The mere fact that this idiot is a complete paranoid schizophrenic who believes Hitler could rise again in America is proof enough that he needs to be sequestered in some padded room off the mainland. C'mon people..listen to this bufoon, he rants, rambles and spews utter nonsense as if it were gospel. Haven't we had enough of these clowns already?? Please America..lets stop this nonsense and look for intelligent, qualified humans to run our government.. not quacks like RP...

    March 8, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |

    He just screwed up big time with his stupid filibuster that was about nothing but wasting a lot of the countrys time. and to think he has 3 more years to pull more stupid stunts.

    March 8, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  10. Surfer George

    Rand has the same chance of being elected President (of the United States) as his father does/did – NONE

    March 8, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  11. Mary1972

    I doubt very much whether he will get the nomination but if he does, it will be an easy win for the Dems.

    March 8, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  12. Ancient Texan

    A question that Holder and Obama didn't want asked and Rand Paul asked it for almost 13 hours and finally got an answer. The ACLU, Jon Stewart, and several Democrats agreed with his asking just how far the drone program was destined to go. I doubt he would be my choice for President, but I admire his defending American liberty and freedoms.

    March 8, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  13. Kentuckian

    Thank you Rand Paul, you'll win in 2016!
    What, the Dems have Old Joe Biden to run?

    March 8, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  14. Dan

    Rand Paul has his sights on the looney bin...

    March 8, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  15. GinnyG

    Way funny - already gearing up 2016. Way toooo funny. I'd sooner vote for Palin than this sorry excuse for a politician. And I'm by far not a fan of Palin. Spending 13-hours filibustering, wanting to know whether the President could use a drone to kill an American citizen - a child could have answered that question. I could not believe he would waste that much time. Now it makes sense - a grand stand for a sound byte and free publicity.

    March 8, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  16. mauidano

    Hilarious. Just because he can talk for 13 hours and accomplish nothing says a lot about the GOP. Remember now his objective was to break Strom Thurmond's record for a filibuster. To use the nomination of Brennan for CIA was just a cover for his egotistical display. Brennan was confirmed the following day regardless. Have at it Rand. I see four more years of a Democratic White House if this is the best the GOP can do.

    March 8, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  17. Dr Matrix

    Zealots are so involved in their beliefs that they are unaware the 95% disagree with them.

    March 8, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  18. Moishe

    Run Rand Run. Please.

    March 8, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  19. judith

    Good God, spare us from this Ayn Rand worshipers Rand (idiot son) Paul and Paulyboy (can't even carry Wisconsin) Ryan, or perhaps I should hope the are the GOP new heroes because it will guarantee a growing Democratic majority. Both of them want to continue to funnel all the nation's wealth to the fat cats and starve the workers. No thanks!

    March 8, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  20. db

    Please run Senator Paul. It would be nice to have someone in the White House for a change that truly cares about this country and the American people.

    March 8, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  21. john

    It would be a colossal waste of money,

    March 8, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  22. BigDaddy

    Rand Paul, just another GOP loser. A President from KY, ha that will be the day!

    March 8, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  23. Calcommuter

    He's a nutbag. Nothing but an obstructionist. A 13 hour fillibuster that accomplished nothing but embarrassment. McCain even said it was a waste of time. He wants to go back to isolationism. Sure, let's go back to 1917. Gas will still be over $4.00 and we'll be broke. Mission Accomplished! Oh, that's been taken. No one takes the "tea party" members seriously "Rand". So in one week we had Skippy's brother and Ron's son wanting the job. Both have no chance.

    March 8, 2013 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  24. Force Vector

    It'll be interesting to see Rand Paul in 2016 trying to win the support of the regular GOPers by appearing sane and rational AND then spin around 180 degrees and act like a crazed lunatic to win the support of the Tea Party nuts. You know, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

    March 8, 2013 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  25. Mark

    He would have to survive the primaries much less a general election, love or hate him, I just don't see the numbers to support it.

    March 8, 2013 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
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