Message of Limited Government, Fiscal Responsibility, and Personal Privacy, Energizes Small Town Crowd
The Granite State hosted its first presidential candidate yesterday, welcoming Kentucky Senator Rand Paul to a packed town hall in Milford, New Hampshire. His enthusiastic reception there was warmed by the fact that Paul’s poll numbers have shot up recently, showing him now with a lead on Hillary Clinton in Iowa, whose flagging poll numbers are seen as a backlash from her email scandal:
From Yahoo News:
Paul led Clinton by 44 percent to 41 percent in Colorado and 43 percent to 42 percent in Iowa, the Quinnipiac poll showed. In Virginia, Clinton led 47 percent to 43 percent.
“These numbers are a boost for U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky as he formally launches his campaign,” Brown said.
The New Hampshire stop was Paul’s first on his presidential announcement tour. New Hampshire holds an important role as the first primary state in the nation. Paul will have to win or at least come close there if he hopes to win the Republican nomination.
Rand’s father, former congressman Ron Paul, had his best showing in the Live Free or Die state, coming in 2nd place to Mitt Romney during the state’s last presidential primary. The ground game that the elder Paul helped to build is still largely intact, and that could give the younger Paul the leg up he needs.
Aside from three protestors who held poorly made signs decrying the influence of the infamous Koch brothers in New Hampshire (even though the billionaires have not pledged to support Rand), the crowd was welcoming to Senator Paul.
Paul was introduced by several state representatives who were proud to Stand with Rand. He came out to an enthusiastic chant: “President Paul! President Paul!”
As someone who followed both his father’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, Rand’s tone and presentation impressed me. His doesn’t have the feeling of a homespun campaign, it feels more like that of a mainstream populist candidate. Rand’s speech was prewritten, well thought out, and delivered with authority and conviction.
Paul hit all the right notes for the small town crowd. He chastised Washington elites and career politicians, as he declared it was time for congressional term limits. He denounced collectivism and exalted the individual, as he called for school choice and railed against common core. He stood up for personal privacy and pledged reform to the NSA. “As president, on day one I will put an end to this unconstitutional surveillance!” A promise that earned wild applause amongst the energized crowd.
Paul also warned of the threat our national debt poses to our prosperity and security. “Our debt doubled under a Republican administration, now it has tripled under President Obama.” The Senator said that too often Republicans get to Washington and become part of the problem. “That’s not who I am!” he proclaimed. He also said it’s time to make Congress act responsibly in regards to spending. “Congress will never balance the budget unless we make them with a constitutional amendment!”
Separating himself from the rest of the GOP, Paul emphasized his inroads with inner city populations, quoted Martin Luther King Jr., and called for an end to unfair drug laws that disproportionately affect black communities. Paul said he believed it was time to grow the party, and that he intends to do so by bringing a message of individual liberty and economic freedom to inner cities.
Paul stuck around for quite some time, signing autographs, shaking hands, and meeting his supporters. They ranged from the very young to very old. He was beyond personable and had a genuine look in his eyes I hadn’t expected. I was seriously impressed. It may be too early to call, but I believe Rand Paul can win New Hampshire, and possibly the GOP nomination.