U.S. Sen. Rand Paul warned pundits Monday not to read too much into comments he made about his wife possibly vetoing a run for the White House in 2016, but he did say “it’s not a slam dunk that I’m running.”
Paul, who has said repeatedly that he is seriously considering a run, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that comments he has made about his wife, Kelly, being opposed to the idea are largely a joke.
“There’s two votes in my family,” Paul told the audience at the Detroit Economic Club last week. “My wife has both of them, and both of them are ‘no’ votes right now.”
Paul has used some variation of that joke whenever he has been asked about a 2016 run while traveling around Kentucky.
On Fox News Sunday, Paul reiterated that he is considering a run, but he added that he is “also very serious about the family considerations.”
ALEXANDRIA — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, an outspoken opponent of President Barack Obama’s health care law, described his frustration upon signing up for the Washington, D.C., exchange, which the senator did Wednesday.
Paul spoke to reporters Thursday after an event in Northern Kentucky, saying that the law is not a success in Kentucky despite the high interest and thousands who have enrolled.
“It made me an unhappy person,” Paul said, chuckling.
Paul said the process took him more than two hours, and several times he lost the information he had entered into the troubled website.
“I got all the way through with Obamacare one time, and then I lost all my information,” he said.
When asked how to fix the health care law, Paul said, “I’m not sure if there is a fix.”
“I will vote to try to make it less bad if possible,” he said.
By Sam Youngman
Herald-Leader Political Writer
It was one of those full-body laughs where the person rears their head back.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul had just stood next to Agriculture Commissioner James Comer in Louisville and praised Comer for returning $1.65 million to taxpayers when the Lexington Herald-Leader asked the senator what lessons he had learned from weeks of media scrutiny and criticism over multiple accounts of plagiarism.
“Not everybody likes me,” Paul said, cracking up.
He was in a great mood, back on friendly soil with one of his top allies in the state.
Looking ahead to 2015, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Paul and Comer will unite to make a powerful duo as one man runs for the White House and the other vies to move into the governor’s mansion in Frankfort.
The two men, both underestimated by their opponents at almost every turn, have each others’ backs. While both are at least a year away from making any formal announcements, they are making moves behind the scenes that will make them more powerful when they do.
Plans are underway to base Paul’s presidential run in Louisville, where on Friday night Republicans from all over the state gathered for a Paul fundraiser. Comer introduced the senator, and Jesse Benton, a longtime Paul operative and campaign manager to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, announced to the crowd that both McConnell and his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, were maxing out donations to Paul, including a check from McConnell’s PAC.
LOUISVILLE — Agriculture Commissioner James Comer is a popular guy these days.
A proud Republican and likely gubernatorial candidate in 2015, Comer bookended his week with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell singing his praises on Monday and Sen. Rand Paul adding a verse to that song on Friday.
It could have gone the other way.
It was less than two weeks ago that Comer told a Somerset crowd that he “cannot be controlled,” warning unnamed party bosses about interfering in the governor’s race or trying to jump-start it early.
Pariah was possible. Popularity appears to be the result.
But if McConnell’s fawning at a Veteran’s Day event, where Comer announced a national drive for his department’s Homegrown by Heroes program, was a surprise, Paul’s kind words on Friday were not.
The commissioner was the only state representative to back Paul in his primary against former Secretary of State and McConnell pick Trey Grayson.
But he’s also winning friends in high places by doing something few politicians do: Giving tax money back to tax payers.
SOMERSET — In the days leading up to his remarks Tuesday at the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer began referring to them as “the Fort Sumter speech.”
To most of the 100 or so farmers and merchants gathered, Comer’s words appeared far removed from the first battle in the Civil War, but there was a great deal more going on for some, especially in one departure that seemed at odds with the rest of Comer’s routine luncheon speech.
“The days of party bosses hand-picking elected officials in smoke-filled rooms must end,” said Comer, who is mentioned often as a likely Republican gubernatorial candidate. “No more scenarios where party bosses send some guy from, say, Louisville, who has never been to Somerset before and order you to support him because [they] can control him.”
Most of the crowd, subdued by Butterball turkey breast, didn’t know what to make of it when Comer veered and declared, “I cannot be controlled.”
But to a handful, the message was clear: Comer was warning what he views as establishment Republicans — be it U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell or state Sen. Chris Girdler — not to meddle in the 2015 governor’s race.
Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt endorsed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s bid for re-election Tuesday, focusing on McConnell’s race against likely Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes instead of GOP primary challenger Matt Bevin.
“Senator, for what it’s worth, my audience in Louisville and Lexington, I sure endorse and hope you win re-election,” Hewitt said.
McConnell, locked in a two-front battle with Bevin and Grimes, said Grimes has endorsed Obama’s agenda, making clear the heart of his strategy against Kentucky’s secretary of state.
“My opponent supports Barack Obama and everything he’s done, and we’re going to have a referendum on Barack Obama a year from today,” McConnell said.
Grimes campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton responded by saying Grimes “has made it clear what she stands for and that’s putting Kentucky first.”
“Mitch McConnell’s attempt to pretend that he has not been at the center of Washington’s dysfunction for the last 30 years is laughable,” Norton said. “The referendum will be on McConnell’s failed leadership.”
Hewitt joked that his endorsement was qualified by whether or not McConnell can get University of Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to Hewitt’s Cleveland Browns in next year’s NFL draft.
“Well, are they going to have the first pick or do you think it will go to the … Tampa Bay Buccaneers or somebody who’s having a worse year?” McConnell asked.
“I wish we lived in the day when you could challenge a person to a duel.” — former U.S. Sen. Zell Miller on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews in 2004
“If dueling were legal in Kentucky … .” — U.S. Sen. Rand Paul on This Week With George Stephanopoulos on Sunday
Love him or hate him — and those seem to be the only choices — Rand Paul certainly keeps things interesting.
Who else would target millennial voters and channel Miller’s infamous 2004 Hardball performance, which earned a fantastic parody on Saturday Night Live?
That’s not to suggest Paul was plagiarizing Miller, the angry Democrat-turned-Republican senator from Georgia, but it does exemplify the strange and winding path the Kentucky Republican is taking toward 2016.
The past week, capped off with a fascinating appearance on This Week, was a bad one for Paul and fully demonstrated the journey he is taking to the 2016 Republican nomination: One step forward, two steps back and all on a tightrope.
Sen. Rand Paul has taken a beating in the cable news universe this week, but the controversy surrounding Paul’s apparent plagiarism of Wikipedia entries might not hurt him long-term, observers said.
Paul, Kentucky’s junior senator and a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2016, came under fire this week after MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, followed by Buzzfeed and Politico, found online entries that were nearly identical to portions of speeches Paul has given.
The first questions about plagiarism, raised by Maddow, involved a Paul speech in Virginia that apparently lifted language from a Wikipedia entry describing the 1997 sci-fi film Gattaca. A second instance, reported by Buzzfeed, involved a Paul speech and Wikipedia language involving the movie Stand and Deliver.
While the mini-scandal has swirled in prime time, Republican operatives and political analysts said Friday they don’t envision the dust-up doing lasting damage if Paul pursues a White House run. The senator has said he won’t make a decision before next year’s midterm elections are over.
James Pindell, political reporter and analyst for New Hampshire’s WMUR television station — the only major station in the state with the first presidential primary — said that people there have been more focused on pressing political matters and the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series.
“It is so early in the process and there are so many local issues for Republicans here to think about, few even know he is in the news,” Pindell said. “This would be different if this were 2015 or if it happened to a different candidate. Through his father, Rand already has made his first impression here years ago.”
Ding ding ding.
Matt Bevin’s bell company has supplied bells for It’s a Wonderful Life, the New York Stock Exchange and a number of famous heavyweight boxing matches.
Now that the bell has sounded to start the fight between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Bevin, the Louisville businessman said Thursday he will still be on his feet when the fight ends.
“I know this: I’ll still be standing in the 12th round,” Bevin said in an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Whether it comes down to the judges’ scorecards or whether it’s decided before then, we’ll let the people of Kentucky decide.”
Bevin has taken some fierce jabs from McConnell in recent days as the state’s senior senator accused him of being a liar and possible criminal. The allegations stem from a BuzzFeed story that noted Bevin had neglected to mention a $74,000 lien against Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Co. when applying for $100,000 in Connecticut funds to rebuild the bell company after a fire.
“I am in the ring with a person who’s determined to try to end the fight now,” Bevin said. “I kid you not, he’s already resorting to the bite-off-my-ear analogy.”
Sen. Rand Paul’s staff said Thursday that the senator was merely describing the plot of a movie, which he attributed to the movie, and not plagiarizing Wikipedia in a speech earlier this week.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow accused Kentucky’s junior senator of plagiarizing the online source as he talked about the movie “Gattaca” during remarks Monday at Liberty University, where Paul spoke in support of Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli.
Doug Stafford, a senior adviser to Paul, said that over the 25 minute speech, Paul “described the plot of a movie attributed it to the primary sources – the movie – in no way insinuating they were his own thoughts or ideas.”
“If the text had been submitted for academic publication, of course it would have been footnoted,” Stafford said. “Only in Washington is something this trivial a source for liberal media angst.”