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. Steve

    He gets my full support because Im sick of the status quo.The system needs a change you can count on not one of the others who are all the same. Obama and Bush...there is no difference. Obama wants the U.S. to be the worlds policeman just like Bush did. Its time for Rand Paul and yes he is more Presidential than all the rest. Its been so long since weve heard an honest common sense man that we dont recognize it.

    March 23, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  2. JimNasium

    My dog has a better chance of becoming president.

    March 23, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |

    He may be a factor but the best he can hope for is to be the VP nominee for Ted Cruz.

    March 23, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. Kyle

    Get the gov't out of my house, Rand. If he's for ending the criminal (and lucrative) drug war, letting lonely folks pay taxes on a sanctioned hand job, and allowing grown ups outside Vegas to place a sports bet that doesn't go through the mob, I will carry that banner.

    March 23, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. The REAL TRUTH...

    Newt is anything anti-Dem and Obama... so it's no surprise that he thinks Paul is a factor.. really a non-factor. If Paul is the best they got, they can expect another shellacking.

    March 23, 2014 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  6. G DeLuca

    We could only hope to have a President who will tell it like it is, and take the establishment to task. You people looking for heroes and saviors are sheep to the slaughter. You gave Obama the keys to the kingdom based solely on what you wanted him to be, not what he is. Talk is cheap.

    March 23, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  7. Margaret

    Hillary rarely spent a day home while Sec. of State. Most of the world leaders respected her. She was one of the hardest working people in government. She is highly intelligent. No I don't think she will just fade away. But many men are afraid of strong intelligent women.

    March 23, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. bluenotekid

    Rand Paul would make a great President. But given the times of political correctness, Hillary Clinton will win because, just like last election, people will come to vote to make "history". Even if the person they are voting for is incompetent. We will have another 8 years of a economy being held back by big government Democrats that want to regulate and get their hands in everything. All great Empires fall, the United States has had its day in the sun.

    March 23, 2014 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  9. tbone

    He's a funny looking sock puppet.

    March 23, 2014 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  10. neastsider

    Paul is a complete extreme rightwing nut that only appeals to a very small base who like him want to reverse 60-70 years of social progress because they don't like it.

    March 23, 2014 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  11. Tinkansas

    Rand Paul will be a factor in 2016 until he answers these questions:

    What is your position on health care reform?

    What is your position on Social Security?

    What is your position on Medicare?

    March 23, 2014 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  12. Danny

    Don't think so .to far to the right

    March 23, 2014 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  13. 13Directors

    Yep, he's unpredictable. That'll be his downfall.

    March 23, 2014 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  14. Tony D

    Rand Paul is Not Presidential material, Period!

    Neither was Obama but the nit wit got elected twice. This country is full of low IQ morons, most voting for Democrats that promise to give them stuff or other peoples money.

    March 23, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    I stand with rand

    March 23, 2014 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  16. king

    i know one thing if Rand Paul is elected president, all those repubs government entitlement suckers are out with the bath water. the repubs wants to drown the government in a bath tub, but old randy and his father want to drown it in a cup. if the war hawks like McCain, Graham, and his friends think Obama wont start a war so they can dabble in, they will go bunkers with randy, because he wont start none even the if the enemies are knocking at our door. government will be none existent, the poor and the less fortunate might well pack up their bags and move to another country. big oil will leave our country in a sowige heap. the states will do what they want, like bringing back apartheid for gays, and minorities. it will be a free for all world with this guy at the helm. i dont even know what the christian right will do. owe i forgot they only rail and act like a clown because Obama is in office. i guest they will do the same thing the rabid birthers did. rail like hell that Obama wasn't legitimate because he might have been born in another country, even though government documents shows he was born in this country, at the same time voting to put a guy that they know wasn't born in this country to replace the guy that they think might not have been borned here. the mind of the repubs is hard to figure out.

    March 23, 2014 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  17. Jay

    Some of you Rand Haters just make stuff up. Saying Rand would "BAN" SS, Medicare, medicade..... You can't get any more disingenuous but I suppose that will do in liberal circles when slamming the evil Libertarian menace. Even the supposed crackpot, Ron Paul did not propose a Ban on any of those things. Again, this is the crazy one we're talking about.

    March 23, 2014 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  18. Celebrity Dictator

    What's "Presidential Material"? You mean because he's not a Clinton or Bush – because he's not a neocon or progressive socialist, he doesn't qualify? Paul is more principled and closer to our founder's beliefs than any of these dolts in the Democratic party. The more his common sense message gets out, the more the left will fear him – just as they fear Ben Carson.

    March 23, 2014 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  19. bandstraw

    "The moment this race becomes about substance, she will start losing support, literally overnight"
    As if Paul has more "substance"? Whatever the substance is must be pretty substantial for her to lose support "literlly overnight". Seems to me going to the polls is not like going to the grocery store. You don't leave the house unsure of what you are after. Hillary doesn't lose support. I don't think I've met anybody who stopped liking here. If you're democrat you do, republican you don't. Just that simple.
    Doesn't Newt ever listen to himself? Or do all the Newt vodoo dolls keep him distracted?

    March 23, 2014 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  20. Mr. Jeff O'Dette

    Maybe he can get Palin to run with him.

    March 23, 2014 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  21. Joseph Brown

    Rand Paul will be an even bigger factor for a Democratic win 2016 than Romney was in 2012.
    Who can offend more people than Mitt Romnye?
    Why Randy, of course 😉

    March 23, 2014 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  22. J.V.Hodgson

    The rhetoric is quite good, but the substance and the how are missing.
    There Is only plenty of hot air and wind in his balloon, and like all hot air balloons, they only rise so far before bursting, meaning his will burst at worst in trying to become president.

    March 23, 2014 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  23. S. B. Stein

    Rand Paul might be principled but shows that he isn't practical about it. If he can't understand what has been done in the past and what allies expect of us in the future, then he is making the US an isolationist country. Idealism is great but must be tempered with some level of pragmatism.

    March 23, 2014 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  24. Wilson

    I've noticed that the lower Obama does in the polls and the more it becomes public knowledge how many people are upset over obamacare, the more desperate and insulting the paid shills on these blogs are sounding in their protection of Obama the puppet. I find it hilarious.

    March 24, 2014 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  25. Peace

    I do not see what Rand Paul is doing is quite different from what his father did. His father got really committed supporters but not enough to push him where he anticipated to be. So does the son. With his efforts he is putting in, he can't sit in the Oval Office as President.

    March 24, 2014 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
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