While Sen. Rand Paul would not commit to a presidential bid in 2016, the Kentucky Republican commented Sunday morning, “I’ve always said I’ve wanted to be part of the national debate.”
Paul, appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” criticized his party for being too narrow and the legislature for being a decade behind the citizenry. He admitted to being both to the left and to the right of President Barack Obama.
“I think the Republican Party needs to figure out how to be bigger,” Paul said. “There are all kinds of issues that don’t neatly fit in the left-right paradigm that I think would help, because we’re not doing very well in a lot of these states, these purple and blue states, so we do need a candidate that would appeal across the left-right paradigm.”
Paul said one of those issues is immigration reform. He said he supports legislation that enables Congress to vote on border security every year as part of an overall immigration-reform bill.
“You’re only going to get the conservatives, particularly a Republican House, to pass immigration reform if we, as conservatives, are reassured the border is controlled and that we get to vote on whether the border is controlled,” he said. “The main reason I don’t want the president just to stamp it is, I don’t really trust any president, Republican or Democrat, to do a good enough job to say the border is really secure. Every representative should get to vote on that.”
Paul said his views on two other issues — possession and use of marijuana and same-sex marriage — differentiate him from other politicians. Regarding marijuana, he said it’s “a huge mistake” for nonviolent offenders to serve jail terms because it not only exacerbates the situation with overcrowded lockups but also punishes younger Americans for what many consider a societal norm.
“Look, the last two presidents could conceivably have been put in jail for their drug use,” Paul said.
Regarding same-sex marriage, Paul said the issue belongs to the states.
“Marriage has been a state issue for hundreds and hundreds of years,” he said. “I don’t want the government promoting something I don’t believe in, but I also don’t mind if the government tries to be neutral on the issue.”
Prompted by a question about his budget plan, which 18 of 100 senators supported, Paul commented his views, and the views of Americans in general, that are not necessarily shared by those in office.
“I think the legislature’s about 10 years behind the public,” he said.
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