Rand Paul's 3-Day Iowa Trip Sends Democrats on the Attack

Friday, 08 Aug 2014 07:56 PM

By Cathy Burke

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While Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul tests the Republican waters for a possible White House run, Democrats are attacking, even this early in the nominating process, The Daily Beast reports.

During the junior senator's recent three-day trip to Iowa, where the first presidential caucuses will be held in 17 months, the Democratic National Committee sent out 10 press releases about Paul's activities and speeches, the news site reports.

A senior aide for Paul views the press releases in a positive light for the senator.

"What it can tell you as a political observer is that they recognize what we're trying to point out, which is Rand is the Republican who has the best chance of keeping and energizing the base while going into their constituencies," the aide told The Daily Beast.

Democrats on Monday blasted Paul for fundraising with Iowa Rep. Steve King — who differs with Paul on whether impeachment is an option for President Obama; for his stand on foreign aid to Israel; for saying Republicans don't want to ban birth control;
and that he's in favor "of the concept" of a federal ban on gay marriage, The Daily Beast reported.

And Democrats made the most hay from an incident at a Monday night fundraiser in which Paul was caught on video walking away from two immigration activists, although Paul's spokespeople responded they had already lined up press interviews and Paul was just taking a short break for a few bites from a burger. They said, basically, it was coincidence the activists arrived at the same time.

The DNC mocked the senator's exit as a "profile in courage" and later sent out an email detailing headlines the moment generated, including "Rand Paul Flees in Terror from Mexican Immigrant," and "Watch Rand Paul Run for His Life Before Steve King Insults an Immigrant in Iowa," The Daily Beast reports.

A spokesman for the DNC, Michael Czin, gleefully tweeted on Wednesday: "I hope Rand Paul never stops talking."

In answer to whether Democrats are intimidated by Paul, Czin, tongue-in-cheek, told The Daily Beast: "His positions are quite scary."

"He's working not to get out of the conservative box but to redefine it," Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democrat Network, told The Daily Beast.

Democrats may be trying to engage Paul in hopes he'll stumble before his campaign ever gets off the ground, The Daily Beast reports.

"This is smart politics for the Democrats," Rosenberg said. "What you want to do as opposition is you want to go after the candidates when they're inexperienced ... We saw a deeply inexperienced candidate [in Iowa] ... and a lot of early scrutiny could really weaken him."


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