In an exclusive interview with Yahoo News, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a likely 2016 presidential contender, described how his brand of libertarian-tinged politics could draw new voters to the GOP. Paul said young voters and minority voters, in particular, would be receptive to a message blending a fierce defense of civil liberties with a reluctance to intervene overseas.
In a segment of the interview released Thursday, Paul denounced the National Security Agency’s reported collection of Verizon telephone records.
Paul also expressed his preference for states – not the executive branch in Washington, or the Supreme Court – to decide questions like gay marriage. And he warned the high court might “ignite more of a cultural war” if it strikes down states’ rules on the issue in decisions expected later this month.
Paul, a tea party favorite, explains why he chose to back Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky’s senior senator, instead of helping a possible insurgent candidate. Paul trounced McConnell's preferred candidate in the GOP primary in 2010.
Paul also talked about Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, another popular tea party figure, and her decision not to seek reelection in 2014. Paul said he’ll be “sad to see her go” but that there are other voices with the same message.
Paul, who has taken fire for past comments about civil rights, defends his views and says the federal government has a clear constitutional role.
What’s the junior senator from Kentucky’s favorite Bourbon? Check out his last answer.