March 23rd, 2014
03:26 PM ET
9 years ago

Panel: Rand Paul is 'clearly a factor in 2016'

(CNN) - Rand Paul isn't your run-of-the-mill Republican teasing 2016 ambitions.

It's early in the game, but Paul's crusade against government overreach and his willingness to buck the establishment GOP are turning heads. And his recent popularity has some arguing the Kentucky Republican might have some staying power.

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"State of the Union" political panelists Newt Gingrich, Neera Tanden and Susan Page agree Paul is one of the most interesting among the potential 2016 presidential candidates.

"Here's a guy who's got Neera Tanden and Newt Gingrich in agreement that he's interesting and provocative - and so I definitely think Rand Paul gets the ‘most interesting Republican on the scene’ prize for the past year," said Page, Washington bureau chief for USA Today.

Page said Paul is "clearly a factor" going into the 2016 elections.

"And if anyone thought he was just Ron Paul Two - that's clearly not the case,” she said, referring to his father, who ran for the GOP nomination in 2008 and also ran for president in 1988 as a libertarian candidate. “He's carving out his own identity, it's distinctive. Sometimes he takes on Republicans, sometimes he takes on Democrats,” she said.

The libertarian-leaning senator is fresh off a speech at the historically liberal-leaning University of California at Berkeley, where he talked about the National Security Agency's surveillance program and the Republican Party's need for change.

"I think Rand Paul is actually raising profound questions that go right at the heart of the American establishment,” said Gingrich, a co-host on CNN's “Crossfire” and former GOP House speaker. "Rand Paul is touching on a nerve here, which every conservative ought to take seriously."

Host Candy Crowley said Paul's interesting because he’s "unpredictable on some issues."

Paul has been speaking and meeting with groups that largely voted for Obama in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, like millennials.

"Part of his power with young people is that he's willing to take on not Democrats, but Republicans," said Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress.

A recent CNN/ORC International poll shows Paul is at the top of a crowded field of potential Republican presidential candidates, with 16% support among Republicans nationwide.

Gingrich said Hillary Clinton, who's seen as an unofficial front-runner for the White House on the Democrats’ side, should take a page from Paul's book.

"Rand Paul has been the most consistently principled person talking about issues. And yeah, Neera's right, he takes on Republicans - so what? That's good for America. I'd love to see Hillary take on Democrats with the same courage that Rand Paul is taking on Republicans," said Gingrich, who would not say which potential candidate he would support in the Republican primary.

Gingrich also warned that Clinton's extensive experience in Washington could hamper a potential White House run, if she decides to launch another campaign.

"First lady, senator, Secretary Clinton is very famous for being famous. And as long as she can continue to be famous, she will be famous," he said, tying her time as secretary of state to rocky U.S.-Russian relations today.

"The moment this race becomes about substance, she will start losing support, literally overnight," said Gingrich.

Looking to the nearer future, Page cautioned that characterizing Republicans as obstructionist might have less power in November’s midterm elections, based on the results of a new USA Today/BPC poll. The national survey showed 51% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans say blocking bad laws should be a priority for Congress.

"We've seen a big shift in attitude toward what Congress should do," she said. "A majority now say, block bad laws. We also find Americans are more likely to say that we have this big political divide in America."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton • Rand Paul • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. don in albuquerque

    He is a factor. So was MittWitt a factor.

    March 23, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  2. ChrisM

    Rand Paul is Not Presidential material, Period!

    March 23, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    These guys will be never winning nor viable candidates for WH. Their ideology is 2nd century ideology, banning SS, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. Very pathetic, very crooked.

    March 23, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. me too

    Who is he trying to convince? Newt is an idiot just like Rush. He just likes to hear himself talk so he assumes everyone else does too. Pathetic.

    March 23, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. Randy, San Francisco

    Sen Paul can't pass the conservative purity tests and his Libertarian leanings will turn off too many voters.

    March 23, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Randy Paul / Piyush "Bobby" Jindal 2016

    Aqua Buddha Bubba's , yes we will !

    March 23, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. Marie MD

    The twit, Bachman, Cain, Gingrich, oops gov even this pre 60s racist guy's dad was a factor. They only one who came out on top was the twit and he lost badly.
    Courting young people because you are against war is good but that's all he has. He's a loser and by 2016 he will be left in the dust .
    He's against everything that the middle class and poor need. I am not sure but is he really even a doctor of any kind? I know he likes to plagiarize so who's to say.

    March 23, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. Jef Brown in Jersey

    I doubt too many women, blacks, Latinos, gays, middle class and poor voters will consider this guy... Or ANY Republican. They have a very limited, old white male base that's getting smaller every day.

    March 23, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  9. J Anthony

    Are we noticing the detrimental effeccts of 2010's Citizens United ruling yet?

    March 23, 2014 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. Gurgyl

    Speaking to the fact, none there in GOP. Not even one candidate in Republican Party of "no" that makes sense either for WH bid.

    March 23, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  11. wilburw7

    Rand Paul is Presidential material.

    March 23, 2014 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. John

    Mr. Ryan would ad greater divide to our country that we have and need.

    March 23, 2014 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  13. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    Only for those with I.Q. less than 65.

    March 23, 2014 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  14. Scott

    If you mean by 'being a factor', you mean getting a Democrat elected to the White House then yes, he's a factor.

    March 23, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  15. ErnieS

    A factor... No. A crazy fool, absolutely.

    March 23, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  16. yoshimoto

    a factor? his father got huge amounts of applause during the debates for his libertarian beliefs and Ron almost always came in second in the polls – Rand message will resonate with the average American and the corporate lobbyists are going to hate that – GO RAND GO! we need a strong leader to clean up Congress – watch "House of Cards" on Netflix – I guarantee this is how things are run in DC – it's all about getting money and getting re-elected and they heck with the voters

    March 23, 2014 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  17. Larry L

    Like all Libertarians Paul oversimplifies solutions for very complex problems. That message has some appeal to poorly-informed voters but anybody willing to think through the issue discovers Paul offering yesterday's solutions for today's problems. That makes good sound-bites for those unable to appreciate the complexity of the issues.

    It is amusing to see Paul rant about "politicians" – then turn around and play more political games than any of the other weasels. His ideologies are "flexible" and subject to change based on the audience or the polls...

    March 23, 2014 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  18. Thom

    The GOP doesn't have a factor in a National election........there is only one way we will have a GOP President in the next 10 years........ and some crazed looney tune just might try it.

    March 23, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  19. t

    ..almost as much as the weather in Georgia

    March 23, 2014 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  20. Jerry5555

    I think we have a bad selection on both sides. Republicans are lost and Hillary is a professional politician (which means she's a crook). Too bad JFK Jr. Isn't still around, he would have done wonders right about now.

    March 23, 2014 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  21. ELMO

    I will only take Rand serious if he runs as a Libertarian or an Independent.

    March 23, 2014 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  22. CryBabySpeaker

    A factor? Like on The Voice or American Idol?

    March 23, 2014 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  23. dick E. Normus

    Rand Paul is a loser. And Newt Zingo Gingo got kicked out of Congress for corruption. No one in his or her right mind cares what they think.

    March 23, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  24. 1776usa2016

    Rand Paul or a Ted Cruz = candidates to nowhere.


    March 23, 2014 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  25. ha ha ha ha

    Rand paul is a factor. Just like bugs bunny is a factor.

    March 23, 2014 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
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