Republican Rand Paul: There 'should be a struggle to make the party better'
March 5th, 2014
09:44 PM ET
9 years ago

Republican Rand Paul: There 'should be a struggle to make the party better'

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Rand Paul delivered a fervent plea Wednesday to expand the Republican Party and make the GOP more compassionate toward those "who aren't treated fairly by the criminal justice system," noting African-Americans and Hispanics in particular.

Speaking to a group of conservatives, the Kentucky Republican and potential 2016 presidential candidate also acknowledged a rift within the party over budgetary issues and civil liberties.

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"People say, 'Oh Republicans shouldn't fight.' I disagree. There's a struggle, and there should be a struggle to make the party better," he said, while headlining the Coalitions for America's Weyrich Awards Dinner in Washington.

The libertarian-leaning senator has been aggressively preaching the need for a broader GOP - ideologically and racially. The senator, whose outreach efforts have not gone unnoticed by the political class, invoked Ronald Reagan as a major figure who made the party "bigger and better."

"He appealed to all kinds of people," Paul said.

"We don't dilute or give up our message; we need to extend our message to people who haven't been listening to us. To me, that's a message that may have a libertarian twist," he said, emphasizing a focus on "liberty and the Bill of Rights."

While he blasts the Obama administration over wasteful spending, Paul has been working with Attorney General Eric Holder on reducing mandatory minimums on nonviolent drug offenders.

"[Some] American communities are disproportionately affected by the war on drugs," he said. "Everybody does drugs at about the same rate, but your prisons are full of African Americans and Hispanics, and it's unjust."

Paul noted the party is already known for supporting limited government, but he added the GOP could also be known for something else.

"Why don't we be the party that has some compassion for people who aren't being treated fairly by the criminal justice system?"

Paul's comments came before a friendly audience on the eve of the Conservative Political Action Conference, a major gathering for conservatives each year in Washington. His comments will be closely watched as he has picked up some momentum in Republican presidential polls.

A CNN/ORC International Poll released last month indicated 13% of Republicans would support the senator in the GOP primary if he runs for president. He was second only to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who got 14% support.

Filed under: Rand Paul • Republican Party • Republicans
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. YUCK

    How about using equality under the LAW?because if a white person commits the same crime as a Latino or black or any other race,they should treated equality and get the same time of imprisonment.

    March 5, 2014 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  2. ChrisM

    What Rand Paul and the republicans say and what the actually do ( passing legislation against minorities) are completely different

    March 5, 2014 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |

    Paul is radical across party lines And that makes for some very good news for a change ! Maybe a little of that radical will be good for us ? Instead of the status quo doopty doo ? Its going to take thinking 0ut of the box t0 fix usa n0t necssarily R. Paul . The dims are n0t working for sure !thx

    March 5, 2014 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  4. NameCharles Hawkins

    At least one republican has learned to pander to more than just wealthy old white people.

    March 5, 2014 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the repub/tea bag majority

    There's Rant again, flapping his lips, trying to grab air time. The only way the gop could improve would be for it to abandon its failed policies, along with its tactic of spreading anger, fear and lies in an effort to mobilize its base.

    But given that's the only way it can win these days – supported by mountains of cash from anonymous, unaccountable foreign and domestic entities to tax exempt organizations – I'm not holding my breath.

    The gop/tea bags are a bunch of losers – and the sooner we can vote them out on November 4, 2014, the better.

    March 5, 2014 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote OUT the repub/tea bag majority

    I hope the gop struggles so hard, it breaks in two.

    March 5, 2014 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  7. tammyk tammy

    Sounds to me like he plagerized his statements out of Michelle Anderson's book called The New Jim Crow. Before he applauds Ronnie Raygun for his wide appeal to voters though, Paul and the Republicants should acknowlege that it was Ron and Nancy Just Say No Reagan's War On Drugs that started the mass incarceration of blacks and hispanics in the 1980s while ignoring the similar use of drugs by the white community who comprise the Republican base. Hey, it wouldn't be right to permanently take away the voting rights of young white males now would it? Paul is hoping that young black and hispanic voters won't know that little tidbit of info. I guess he conveniently skipped over those sections of Ms Anderson's book. Before you vote for this quack or any other Repubs, read the book and make an educated decision based on historical fact.

    March 5, 2014 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  8. HenryMiller

    Step One ought to be to get rid of the puritanical bible-thumpers—no one likes having someone else's "social values" crammed down their throat. (Just like no one likes having the Democrats' Nanny State crammed down their throat.)

    March 5, 2014 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  9. tammyk tammy

    Oops, my bad. The book is by Michelle Alexander not Anderson. My apologies Ms A, hope you will forgive. Thank you for writing it and for bringing this issue into the public consciousness.

    March 5, 2014 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  10. Doug

    Then why is he a member of the Tea party, who has done nothing but make the party worse?

    March 6, 2014 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  11. Thomas

    The Aqua Buddha has the wisdom of the gods !

    Most days

    March 6, 2014 01:25 am at 1:25 am |

    HILARIOUS watching Guns Over People tea potty wingnuts walk the plank toward another November. They are stuck with dopey loose cannons like Rand Paul.

    March 6, 2014 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  13. Marie MD

    poor ayn rand's long lost twin . . . . "Why don't we be the party that has some compassion for people who aren't being treated fairly by the criminal justice system?"
    Maybe it's because your party sees pregnant women as "hosts", you want to control women's reproductive rights, you are against veterans (AFTER they return from lies of wars), you want to give seniors less, you don'ts believe gays have the same right, you have taken food stamps from millions (including veterans who keep voting teaklan), you are against the poor, the disabled. I could go on and on. Let's just say that all that's left of your followers are the brainless who keep thinking the 1% (whose money couldn't buy an election in 2012) is not the ruling party in this country and that teaklans will do anything to keep their jobs with their money and by gerrymandering their districts.
    We might be headed for a war but it's going to be an internal war of the have and have nots and I think we have the numbers on the twits of the US.

    March 6, 2014 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  14. Tampa Tim

    I think they should vote 50 times to repeal their party. Right now, republicans get paid to bing our government to a halt. When it comes down to it, the only oath they honor is to big money at the expense of the majority of Americans.

    March 6, 2014 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  15. Gurgyl

    --as long as you care Koch, Sheldon Adelson etc, ignore American poor, American middle class, women etc you and your party has zero chance. It is an advice of erudite.

    March 6, 2014 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  16. king

    its amazing how Americans disagree about almost everything the repubs are offering, yet they are set to elect them in droves in November. ive been talking about the jugganaut of the repubs propaganda machine all year, and the fact that the cowardly fox news, who still refuse to hire a single dem host to show the other side of the argument, is taking its toll. fox news also have the luxury of all the corporate news programs on their side, like fox business news and cnbc, not counting the hoard of right winged radio stations that out numbers dems 20 to 1. they also high jack the mainstream media like cnn, abc, nbc, and cbs. so that the mere mentioning of something positive about the president, they are attacked relentlessly. they have shut down all the atletic industries like foot ball or basket ball to do anything to help the people. these right wingers have the country on lock down. this is why anything they say moves like a plague over this nation, and it doesn't matter what backward off the cuff crap they lay down. how can the average dem Joe fight with only one weapon, which is msnbc, against such odds. furthermore republican host like joe scarbarow takes up 3 hours every morning at msnbc, while fox news doesnt have a dem hosting for atleast half an hour. dems need to find another news program fast to combat the jugganaut the right wingers and the corporations have. because they're efforts are not with the american people, but abroad.

    March 6, 2014 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    It is going to take more than a struggle to make the GOP better. They have lost this country to the criminals who are now running it, and who do not intend to ever relinquish control.

    March 6, 2014 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  18. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    Just as long as he is protected from the struggle, and can observe is what he means. What a creep.

    March 6, 2014 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  19. Dee

    We the people hear you loud and clear. You need to listen to the people and then reconstruct your party to what we want. You will never win an election listening to your party.

    March 6, 2014 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    You know the Republican Party is in deep doo-doo when Rand Paul is the ONLY one making sense.

    March 6, 2014 07:55 am at 7:55 am |