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Senator Rand Paul - a conversation in the kitchen
Senator Rand Paul answered questions from the unAndrea Mitchell.

(Murray KY Jan. 11, 2012) - Leaning on a counter in a tiny kitchen area in the CFSB Center is not what I pictured my first exclusive interview with the junior senator from Kentucky to be like. I had more in mind me as a larger version of Andrea Mitchell, sitting in comfy chairs with a pad on my knee and a pen stuck behind my ear.  That it didn’t quite look like my dream interview didn’t matter a bit when I got a few minutes to ask him questions one on one.

The question on the national media’s mind is Paul’s father’s second place finish in New Hampshire just yesterday. What that means for the elder Paul is, according to his son, “It’s a two man race, now. No one else is on the ballot in all fifty states.”

I asked him about the pundits’ wondering if the elder Paul would leave the GOP and run as an independent or a third party candidate. He assured me that his father would not.

I asked if Paul would “run” for the vice president spot. He said, “It’s not a job you run for.” I reminded him that one had to be very, very nice to someone to get the job. 

He smiled at that and said “My father hasn’t asked me yet.”

The pundits also spent a good deal of time speculating on the election that is over four years off. Some speculate that Ron Paul is preparing the way for Rand Paul to run for president in the next cycle.

The younger Paul was noncommittal about 2016. He said it was “unlikely” that he would run for president. He didn’t say impossible. He did say he likes being in the national debate on issues and he thinks it helps Kentucky.

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show recently praised the Senator’s introduction of an amendment to a defense bill removing a provision allowing the US government to detain American citizens on American soil for suspicious activities. Paul wasn’t able to get his amendment passed, but he did force a roll call vote on the issue, putting supporters and opponents on record.

I asked if the failure of his amendment caused him concern.

It does. The government wants Americans to report their neighbors for using hair dye, keeping food stocks, having a missing finger, and/or buying too much ammunition. He said that under the new law that Americans can be transported to Guantanamo and kept there without constitutional protections, a prisoner held without trial for an unspecified time.

Paul praised local, state and federal law enforcement for their handling of a terrorist plot being hatched in his home town of Bowling Green, Kentucky. One of those accused has already pled guilty.  He said that he has no plans to introduce any legislation related to the incident.

When asked if anything can be done about the gridlock in Washington, the Senator reiterated his earlier remarks at the town hall meeting.  He is more than willing to work with the President. He thinks everything in Washington is on hold until after the 2012 election.

What’s the biggest problem facing West Kentucky?  The debt crisis.  Destroy the value of the currency and times will become truly desperate.

The junior senator from Kentucky feels an urgent need to address that issue. Now he has to convince the rest of Washington and much of the country.



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