“One of the three super PACs supporting Rand Paul’s presidential campaign has stopped raising money, dealing a damaging blow to an already cash-starved campaign,” Politico reports.
“I think if you look closely at the poll numbers, our numbers actually shifted south before I ever attacked him.”
— Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), quoted by the Washington Post, when asked if his attacks on Donald Trump were hurting his campaign.
Sam Youngman: “Sunday’s headlines about Kentucky’s Republican presidential caucus almost looked very different. And, the truth is, were it not for the efforts of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his allies, Sunday’s conversation probably would have been about the rebuke Rand Paul received from in-state Republicans and the death blow they dealt to his struggling presidential campaign. Because Paul was going to lose Saturday’s vote.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) endorsed Matt Bevin (R) for Kentucky governor, but when asked later if he was backing Paul in his bid for the presidency, Bevin refused to say, the Louisville Courier Journal reports.
Said Bevin: “At this point, I’m running for governor and that’s what my focus is on. I am delighted that Rand is running, I have made very clear that I’m a supporter of that idea. I’m running for governor, I have made no endorsement whatsoever.”
The Kentucky Republican Party “has approved a presidential caucus allowing Rand Paul to run for president and re-election to his U.S. Senate seat at the same time without running afoul of state law,” the AP reports.
“State law bans candidates from appearing on the ballot twice in the same election. Paul tried without success to convince the state legislature to change the law. But a presidential caucus allows voters to vote for Paul for president on March 5 and then vote for him again for re-election to his Senate seat during the primary election on May 17.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) “has transferred $250,000 to the Republican Party of Kentucky as a down payment on the presidential caucuses he has asked the party to conduct in March,” the Lexington Herald Leader reports.
“Paul is seeking the party’s help in bypassing a state law that prohibits him from running for president and for re-election to his Senate seat on the same ballot next year. He wrote to the party’s state central committee, which has nearly 350 members, in an effort to quell concern about the cost of a caucus.”
“Tiny little guy… A nasty, nasty guy. I gave him a lot of money for his eye center. I played golf with him. I’m a good golfer. I’ve won 18 club championships. And he’s a golfer and I killed him. I could play him a thousand times and never lose to him.”
— Donald Trump, quoted by the New York Times, about Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign released “an aggressive attack video questioning business mogul Donald Trump’s conservative bona fides,” the Washington Post reports.
The ad quotes Trump: “I probably identify more as a Democrat. I’ve been around for a long time and it just seems that the economy does better under the Democrats than the Republicans.”
The Paul campaign said the ad would run in New Hampshire and Iowa through the weekend.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), “whose presidential campaign has been buffeted by fundraising disappointments and flagging poll numbers, is facing new challenges in his home state of Kentucky,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Members of the Kentucky Republican party are pressing Mr. Paul to make good on a promise to pay for a new GOP presidential nomination caucus — a costly shift from the existing primary system that was tentatively approved at the senator’s behest earlier this year.”
Politico: Rand Paul faces emerging doubts at home
“The federal charges announced against Jesse Benton mark a jarring, high-profile flameout for the long-serving Rand Paul adviser and top-flight Republican operative who was hailed until recently as a rising star in the party — a grim political trajectory that many in Paul’s orbit now tell BuzzFeed News their candidate seems doomed to follow.”
“In interviews Wednesday with more than half a dozen people close to Paul — including current staffers, top fundraisers, and key allies — Benton’s indictment was cited as evidence of deeply rooted problems in Rand Paul’s campaign, from organizational dysfunction, to personal failures of judgment by the candidate himself.”
One of the senator’s aides called the situation “a total mess” and added, “I don’t think there’s any coming back from this.”
Jesse Benton, a close confidant of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY, was indicted “for an alleged conspiracy to bribe an Iowa state senator in 2011 to shift allegiances to Paul’s father, Ron, then a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination,” Politico reports.
Benton, “who’s now helming a super PAC supporting the Kentucky Republican’s 2016 presidential bid, faces charges of conspiracy, obstructing an investigation, submitting false campaign finance reports to the FEC, and making false statements to the FBI. Two other operatives, John Tate and Dimitrios Kesari, also face charges connected to the alleged payoff.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is attributing GOP presidential rival Donald Trump’s rise in the polls to a momentary “loss of sanity,” The Hill reports.
Said Paul: “I think this is a temporary sort of loss of sanity, but we’re going to come back to our senses and look for someone serious to lead the country at some point.”
“I’m the one person who will say you do have the right to be left alone and that we really don’t want President Obama collecting all of our phone records.”
— Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), quoted by the Boston Globe.
Sen. Rand Paul, “once seen as a top-tier contender, finds his presidential hopes fading fast as he grapples with deep fundraising and organizational problems that have left his campaign badly hobbled,” Politico reports.
“Interviews with more than a dozen sources close to the Kentucky senator, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity, painted a picture of an underfunded and understaffed campaign beaten down by low morale.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) “had counted on building from the grass-roots base of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, and winning enough support from the Republican mainstream to compete for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Instead, the Kentucky lawmaker is slipping in the polls, lagging in fundraising and losing some of his father’s loyalists over foreign-policy disagreements. Campaign metrics suggest he’s no longer a first-tier candidate after falling behind the front-runners on all those measures.”
NBC News: “Just a year ago, if he wasn’t considered a leading prospective presidential candidate, he certainly was an interesting one — given his libertarianism and less-hawkish views on foreign policy. But now that the presidential contest is well under way, Rand Paul has gone missing — both figuratively and literally — from a big part of the 2016 conversation.”
“But Paul’s campaign team argues that this absence from the campaign conversation is by design — to play the long delegate game, and to avoid sharing the crowded space with other Republican presidential candidates.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said he believes that “you have to give up some of your liberty to have government,” saying he was “for some government,” BuzzFeed reports.
Said Paul: “I’m for paying some taxes. But if we tax you at 100% then you’ve got zero percent liberty. If we tax you at 50% you are half slave, half free.”
Gov. Chris Christie (R) stepped up his criticism of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), telling MSNBC the Kentucky senator should be made to testify before Congress in the event of a future terrorist attack because his opposition to NSA data collection has made the country “weaker and more vulnerable.”
Said Christie: “He should be in hearings in front of Congress if there’s another attack, not the director of the FBI or the director of the CIA.”