March 7th, 2014
05:18 PM ET
7 years ago

CPAC crowd stands for Rand

National Harbor, Maryland (CNN) - Sen. Rand Paul stepped on stage Friday at CPAC-and into his element.

The Kentucky Republican, whose libertarian fight in the Senate is often met with a tepid response, spoke before an audience Friday that treated him like a rock star.

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Wearing blue jeans, a blazer and a red tie, Paul opened up his speech with what could easily be a preamble to a White House campaign.

“Imagine a time when our great country is again governed by the Constitution. Imagine a time when the White House is once again occupied by a friend of liberty,” he said. “You may think I'm talking about electing Republicans. I'm talking about electing lovers of liberty.”

Paul hit on his usual touchstones, including a need to stand up for an individual’s right to trial by jury and to stand against the National Security Agency. The senator and potential 2016 presidential contender recently filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over the NSA’s phone metadata collection program.

“If you have a cell phone, you are under surveillance,” he said. “I believe what you do on your cell phone is none of their damn business.”

Paul also made repeated attacks against President Barack Obama, arguing that the current White House occupant’s “timid defense of liberty” sets dangerous precedents for “lawlessness.”

“He’s got a pen, he’s got a phone, he doesn’t care what the law is,” Paul said. “A tyranny will ensue, and we must stop this President.”

Paul was playing off of Obama’s State of the Union address, in which he pledged to make 2014 a “year of action"–with or without Congress–by threatening to use his pen and phone to issue executive orders among other authorities.

Standing with Rand

To say CPAC is full of Paul supporters would be an understatement. This is his crowd–well, a part of his crowd. Paul is eager to expand his base, and expand the GOP in general.

He’s been aggressively trying to broaden the party by talking about the need to include not only libertarians, but even Democrats and minority voters that don’t traditionally fall in the GOP column.

But he wasn't trying to hammer home that message on Friday. His remarks were mostly catered to firing up the conservative libertarian crowd.

Paul supporters could be seen at all corners of the conference this week, easily spotted by their “I Stand With Rand” stickers and signs. Last year, Paul won the much-watched CPAC presidential poll.

Quite fittingly, the first-term senator walked out on stage to the lyrics of a famous 1990's Chumbawamba song: “I get knocked down / But I get up again / You’re never going to keep me down.”

The senator certainly made that message clear as he closed out his remarks, reminding the audience of the times he’s railed against opposition, even against those in his own party.

“When the President refused to rule out droning of American citizens, I took a stand. I filibustered,” he said, talking about his near 13-hour stand-off in the Senate last year when he questioned the legal use of drones on American citizens.

The 2013 episode further catapulted him into political fame, despite already having a famous father–Ron Paul, three time presidential candidate and a veteran congressman from Texas.

“When I discovered that the NSA spied on us...I took a stand,” he said. “I sued the President.”

Filed under: CPAC • Rand Paul
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    I heard they all took off their tinfoil hats out of respect but then couldn't understand a word he was saying until they put them back on.

    March 7, 2014 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. Tampa Tim

    Will Putin's speech tomorrow at CPAC bring the conservatives together? He stands for a lot of those conservative principles. Putin/Paul 2016 for a better Crimea.

    March 7, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. Winston Smith

    What a shame. People considered adults in the eyes of the law, acting like children. They say they are interested in saving the nation. The only thing they are interested in is adding to their own wealth. And they don't care who they trample on to get it.

    March 7, 2014 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  4. sammy750

    CPAC honored all the Republican criminals that has served time in prison for a multiple of crimes. The Republicans say they welcome them and any criminals that want to join their team. We have Gov. R. Scott of Florida, A 14 time felon, An Idaho state senator who has raped 2 women, one in OH and other in FL Republicans moved him to Idaho to win a state senate seat. These are the types of people Republicans want controlling the states and federal govt.

    March 7, 2014 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  5. Steve

    So now Rand Paul is quoting Pink Floyd??

    Careful with that axe Eugene

    March 7, 2014 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  6. Ali

    This overreaching surveillance was created under a Republican administration, but again I don't blame for counting on the uneducated among us. Well done Sir!

    March 7, 2014 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  7. Thomas

    The Aqua Buddha rock star .

    Why is America mesmerized by all stye no soul political entertainers ?

    March 7, 2014 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  8. Belvarie Varnado

    I guess the way most of you are talking you're still falling for Obama's "hope and change" talk. He never gave any specifics but you voted for him anyway. Any Republican would have been better

    March 7, 2014 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  9. pyusmc66

    Looks like the same 7 dwarfs are positioning again, plus dingbat Palin, and "duh, I forgot the 3rd one" Oops, I forgot "Emily Litella" Bachman. What a bunch of crackpots. (CrackPotsActionCommitee)

    March 8, 2014 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  10. Iamnotfooled

    All these guys did was knock President Obama. Not a new plan among any of them. Clowns in the Clown car again. Pathetic. They are embarrassing even to the Republicans.

    March 8, 2014 04:01 am at 4:01 am |
  11. Mariah Lee

    Tinfoil hats..? Do you think the NSA spying on you is conspericy theory? Do you think it just a conspericy theory that the president assassinated a 16 kid from Denver? You just keep pushing your agenda Sniffit... The closer you get to meeting your agenda the closer the more you condemn yourself. Civil war WILL come to this country if we maintain this course... And you will find yourself on the ruthlessly handled end of it.

    March 8, 2014 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  12. don in albuquerque

    Tampa Tim

    Nope they will not bother with Putin. They are bringing out the big guns. Benito will be channeled, with follow up statements by Franco, and Peron. A fun day for GOTPer's and Spiritualist (new term for the GOTP) everywhere.

    March 8, 2014 09:09 am at 9:09 am |

    Paul does not have a prayer to be the nominee in 2016. Cruz has ALREADY won.

    March 8, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  14. MaryM

    What ever happened to the foresight and great Ideas from the once great republican party. All Americans hear are a bunch of whinny little children. I guarantee you republicans, you will Not be elected because of your whining

    March 8, 2014 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  15. Andrew

    These fools crack me up. The GOP is like a clown car they just keep coming out and sounding the same and still crazy. They haven't learned from the last 2 presidential losses that their ideology is starting to drift into fantasy land. American is not the greatest country in the world. We may be one of the most democratic and free.. but the BEST? Are you kidding me.. 37th in Healthcare.. yet they'll keep drilling us with "America has the best healthcare..".. These political hacks are trying to wage war on the poor, the middle class and anyone that doesn't agree with conservative values.. What ever those are? More they speak more people walk away from the GOP. Someone should tell them by acting like unintelligent, scared kids and basically insulting the vast enthic groups in America.. they'll never see the inside of the white house again.

    March 8, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  16. salty dog

    Isn't he the one who wants to change the states rules, to suit his political aspirations.

    March 8, 2014 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  17. Joan

    Eric Snowden must be so proud of Rand Paul.

    March 8, 2014 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  18. salty dog

    Sniffit, that's funny stuff! They look at the world in a strange light, that's for sure.

    March 8, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  19. Tampa Tim

    Mariah Lee
    Tinfoil hats..? Do you think the NSA spying on you is conspericy theory? Do you think it just a conspericy theory that the president assassinated a 16 kid from Denver? You just keep pushing your agenda Sniffit... The closer you get to meeting your agenda the closer the more you condemn yourself. Civil war WILL come to this country if we maintain this course... And you will find yourself on the ruthlessly handled end of it.
    Ever wonder where NSA came from? Don't you think "assassinated" is a bit much much for even a RWNJ? We had a civil war once, and the people the slave owners coerced to fight in their place lost. I try to keep up with the crazy posts from Fox viewers, but yours is idiocy.

    March 8, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. HRC16

    I don't think we should wait until 2016 to vote. We need to vote democrats into office in 2014, help pull President Obama to the left, and give Hillary a congress she can work with. Vote House and Senate democrats into office 2014.

    March 8, 2014 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. B.

    Blind leading the Blind, good luck with Paul GOP..

    March 8, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  22. Cedar rapids

    A later speaker at the cpac said....'when I look around this room I see nothing but potential. You have potential, and you have, er, oh dear.'

    March 8, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |

    Rand Paul will win the crackpot straw poll and get 6% of the votes for years like his father did.

    March 8, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    @ Tampa Tim

    Ever wonder why Rand Paul folks keep taking "civil war"? Methinks they want the good old days when people knew their places and stayed in their places out of fear.

    March 8, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  25. Sandyone

    How is it possible that the GOP/TEA cannot come up with some middle of the road candidate that could possibly win a national election. This cast of candidates will lead the party to another "clown car" disaster. This is the world of the 2014. There is not prayer of returning to what they consider the good old days of the 1950's.

    March 8, 2014 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
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