Rand Paul, fresh off a resounding Kentucky primary victory over Trey Grayson, the handpicked candidate of the Republican establishment, proclaimed Wednesday that Congress is "generally untrustworthy."
Paul, the tea party favorite, now is considered a heavy favorite to capture the U.S. Senate seat. His remarks on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program indicate he has little interest in blending in with fellow senators at the expense of compromising his small-government agenda.
Asked by NBC's Norah O'Donnell how he would contribute to a compromise on reducing the national debt, Paul replied, "Well, I think you'll find compromise by looking for rules. I don't think they'll ever balance the budget unless they're forced to by law.
"Here in Kentucky, they have to balance the budget, because we're forced to constitutionally," he said. "I think you need that in Washington. I mean, look at pay-as-you-go. What a disaster! You pass pay-as-you-go and within three weeks they break their own rules. I think as a body of people they're generally untrustworthy, other than a few exceptions."
Paul, an ophthalmologist by trade who is the son of libertarian-leaning Republican Ron Paul, announced in his victory speech last night: "I have a message, a message from the tea party. We've come to take our government back."
The younger Paul has emerged to become a symbol of the grass-roots conservative uprising. On MSNBC Wednesday, he commented on the evolving nature of the tea party.
"Well, what I think the tea party is, I think it is a bipartisan chastisement over the debt," he said. "You know, we were unhappy with the Republicans doubling the debt during their administration. We're really unhappy with the Democrats tripling the debt. But it is bipartisan in the sense that it sees blame on both sides.
"And when I've interviewed with the tea party they tell me, 'We don't want you to be a rubber stamp for the Republican Party. We want you to make the Republican Party more believable as fiscal Republicans again.'"
Paul also said that while tea party leaders are primarily focused on fiscal issues and small government, they demonstrated a strong interest in social issues as well.
"Each tea party would also ask me about social issues and national defense issues, but they were secondary. But they still weren't going to support me unless I supported them on those. And most of them were socially conservative people," Paul said.
In November, Paul will face off against liberal Kentucky Attorney General Paul Conway, who won the Democratic nomination.
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