Tags: rand | paul | presidential | run | 2016

Rand Paul ‘Interested’ in 2016 Run for White House

Wednesday, 21 Nov 2012 08:21 AM

By Martin Gould

Freshman Sen. Rand Paul is already looking to a 2016 presidential run, he has revealed, saying he is “interested” in the prospect of trying to get the Republican nod for the White House.

The son of three-time GOP presidential also-ran Rep. Ron Paul made it clear that he believes the party needs a major  policy overhaul if it is going to win in four years time.

“We have to go in a different direction,” Paul told ABC’s Jonathan Karl. “We’re just not winning and we have to think about some different ideas and we have to think about appealing to different people.”

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Among those ideas, he said was immigration reform.

“We need to let people know, Hispanics in particular, we’re not putting you on a bus and shipping you home,” he said.

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“I’m still right there with a lot of the hard-core immigration people who want border security — I will insist that border security is first — but I’m not going to rule out that we can’t figure out an eventual way that if you’ve been living here for 10 or 20 years, you can’t become like the rest of us.”

He also said states should be given the power to legalize marijuana. “We should tell young people, ‘I’m not in favor of you smoking pot, but if you get caught…I’m not going to put you in jail for 20 years.”

When asked directly about the prospect of another Paul in the Republican presidential field, he said, “I’m not going to deny that I’m interested.” But he added, “I think it’s a little too early. We’ll see what happens.”

Paul will be 53 by the next election and is likely to be backed by many of those on the libertarian wing of the party who made his father a major force in the party. He will also be up for election for his Senate seat in 2016.

He told Karl that Republicans are no longer competitive on the west coast and in New England and even around the Great Lakes. “Huge areas where we are not competitive. We have to have a different message.”

Paul also told Karl that President Barack Obama did not win a real mandate in the election. “It’s not a mandate. He wins by a couple of points,” he said, adding that if Republicans cave to Democratic demands to increase taxes on the rich “we’ll get smaller and smaller as a party.”

If Paul does decide to put his hat in the ring, he can expect a crowded field of opponents. Politico reported on Wednesday that nearly 20 Republicans, headed by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, 2012 vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio are already actively looking to 2016.

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Others Politico said are already considering a run include 2012 candidates Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann; governors Chris Christie of New Jersey, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Bob McDonnell of Virginia, John Kasich of Ohio, and Nikki Haley of South Carolina; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Indiana Gov.-elect Mike Pence; and Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Rob Portman of Ohio, and John Thune of South Dakota

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