Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, son of the Libertarian-Republican firebrand and former presidential candidate Ron Paul, dropped a hint yesterday that he might just be the man for the Oval Office in 2016.
The younger Paul was a guest on the nationally syndicated radio program “The Andrea Tantaros Show with Jason Mattera” when he suggested his similarly libertarian approach to Republican politics might be just what the GOP needs.
After he was asked if he’s thinking about running for president, Paul responded, “The Republican Party, in order to grow and win national elections again, we are going to have to have somebody a little bit different than we’ve had in the past. Someone who can appeal to people in New England and on the West Coast. Someone who has a little more of a libertarian-Republican approach, I think, would have a better chance with independents and moderates.
“And so, we’ll think about it,” he said.
Paul appeared on the show to discuss standing up to Democrats on the upcoming debt ceiling, a plan to demand a balanced budget without defaulting on the U.S. debt, Harry Reid’s reforms of Senate rules, the “fiscal cliff” deadline, foreign policy and marijuana laws.
Discussion of Rand’s upcoming trip to Israel, however, prompted discussion of the presidency.
“Your father, a lot of critics said, was against foreign aid,” Tantaros told Paul. “Some said he was anti-Israel, they thought that he had a Jewish problem, and he did have some disputes on foreign policy issues, so are you taking this trip to put some distance between you and your dad?”
“I think he was unfairly characterized,” Paul replied. “He did talk about foreign aid, and so do I, but I think sometimes that gets misinterpreted. People think, ‘Oh, you’re just talking about Israel,’ and in fact I spend most of my time emphasizing that most of this foreign aid I’m talking about is going to enemies of Israel
“And so some of it is just a different way of expressing it, some of it is that we will be slightly different on some policy,” he continued, “but really the bottom line is that I want to be part of the national debate and I think part of it is getting to know and meeting personally some of the leaders over there.”
Paul’s role “in the national debate” will only grow as it was just announced he on a seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the Israel trip to meet world leaders wasn’t lost on Tantaros.
With a meaningful lilt to her voice, the radio host asked, “A president would have to have a good relationship with those leaders, now, wouldn’t he, Sen. Paul?”
“Oh, well, you know, we’ll have to see,” Paul replied, “but you’re right, I think it is important, and I’m already part of the national debate and I do want to be more a part of—”
“Are you going to run?” Tantaros interrupted. “Are you thinking about running?”
“We’ll have to wait and see,” Paul evaded. “I haven’t said no, and I haven’t also said yes.”
Audio of the radio program can be heard below. The segment with Paul begins at roughly the 19:00 mark, and the discussion of a potential presidential run begins at roughly the 31:40 mark.
Paul’s trip has confirmed meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres, as well as with several government ministers and members of the Knesset, according to the senator’s office. Paul also is arranging meetings with Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian National Authority, Jordan’s King Abdullah and others.
Tantaros is best known for her role as a co-host of Fox News Channel’s “The Five.” Her radio program had its debut earlier this week and will be aired Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to noon EST, on the Talk Radio Network.