Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell, Kentucky's two Republican senators, aren't a lot alike, but have formed a political alliance to benefit them both, The Wall Street Journal
McConnell, the Senate majority leader since Republicans took control of the upper chamber in January, is part of the old guard, while Paul, son of former libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul, is more maverick, backed by tea party supporters.
The pair's relationship started out adversarial when Paul first ran for Senate in 2010, beating the McConnell-backed candidate in the GOP primary. Now, the two with differing views are a lot more chummy.
McConnell backed Paul that November, and Paul returned the favor in 2014, backing McConnell over tea party challenger Matt Bevin. Tea party supporters didn't care for Paul supporting the establish candidate, but his loyalty has paid off.
McConnell backed Paul's successful bid to have the Kentucky Republican Party move to a presidential caucus
rather than primary in 2016. That would allow Paul to simultaneously run for president and re-election to the Senate.
McConnell was initially skeptical of the idea, but relented after a meeting with Paul in which he promised it was a one-time shot and that he would help raise money to pay for the caucus.
"Sen. McConnell and I are not exactly alike: He’s a little more Henry Clay, and sometimes I’m a little more Cassius Clay," Paul told the Journal. The Clays were two Kentucky cousins from 19th century politics who also were about as different as Paul and McConnell.
Henry Clay was known as the "Great Compromiser," while Cassius Clay was an unwavering opponent of slavery.
Today, the libertarian Paul, a doctor, believes parents should be allowed to choose whether to vaccinate their children, whereas McConnell, a survivor of childhood polio, has said he is "big fan" of vaccinations. Paul is more dovish on war, while McConnell is a hawk.
Paul has called out "Chamber of Commerce" Republicans. McConnell has been honored by the pro-business group.
Paul even appeared at a recent Kentucky Chamber of Commerce tribute to McConnell, the Journal reported.
Paul said at that event that when the two first met, "I don’t think he knew what to make of me — or me of him at that point."
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