Dr. Rand Paul didn’t wait one minute to go after opponent Trey Grayson Saturday at the GOP candidate forum in Paducah. In his opening remarks, he accused Grayson of lying about his stance on abortion. The allegation must have stung because he returned to the subject more than once.
He accused Grayson of lying when he said Paul wanted to close the prison located at Guantanamo Bay, where most terror suspects are currently held. He said that Grayson took his remarks out of context to create a false impression.
Paul spent a great deal of his time at the event criticizing the GOP hierarchy. When asked about term limits, he said that he supports term limits – even if it means his father will have to leave the House where he has served almost twenty years. He told the crowd that both parties spent too much taxpayer money. He advocates whittling down the federal government, abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education.
Accused by his rival, Grayson, of doing the “Potomac Shuffle” on abortion, Paul said he is strongly pro-life. He said that his words on the issue have been taken out of context by Grayson and his supporters. He explained that he wants a federal ban on abortion, but if that is not possible, a state by state ban may have to be an alternative. He said that alternative is supported by pro-life activists.
Paul seemed confident and at ease. He worked in references to conservative talk shows, saying that he had been on Glenn Beck and other news programs. And, he reminded the crowd, Sarah Palin endorsed him.
He joked that when he was the underdog at the beginning of the race, wise old men came to him and told him not to break Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment – Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican. Now that he is the front runner, he doesn’t hear that anymore.
The energy and attention of those attending seemed to be with Paul. At least one tea bagger called the debate for Paul. After the debate, while his two opponents hesitated, he waded into the crowd. The media gathered with supporters and wellwishers, recording every word that came out of his mouth.
If Paul doesn’t stumble badly between now and May, GOP leaders may have to deal with a standard bearer who is not just a conservative but his father’s son when it comes to his political beliefs.
If he does stumble, he can at least look back on February 13, 2010 as a very good day in a long campaign.