Chatting with reporters over breakfast this morning, Sen. Rand Paul dished on his likes, dislikes and his plans for the future. As it turns out, the Kentucky Republican is a big fan of Grover Cleveland, thinks of Henry David Thoreau as a mentor and plans to continue his outspoken outreach to minority groups.
The National Journal has the details:
1. He likes being talked about as a presidential candidate. Paul was honest about enjoying that his name is being floated in the 2016 presidential sweepstakes – because it enhances his influence. “I want to be part of the national debate, whether I run or not,” he said. And all the 2016 chatter in 2013 is giving him a “larger microphone” for the issues he cares about.
2. He’s not afraid of Social Security and Medicare. It took Paul less than five minutes to outline an entire restricting of the American entitlement system. He wants to raise the age for beneficiaries of two of the country’s most popular programs and use “means-testing” so they are only consumed by the less well-off.
3. He’s sensitive – especially to media criticism. Paul repeatedly complained about press coverage of his recent visit to Howard University, a historically black college, saying the “left-wing media” had it out for him and was nitpicking his mistakes and missteps. There was a certain boldness to Paul’s decision to launch his complaints in a room full of reporters.
4. Howard was just the beginning. Paul said he planned to continue to reach out to African-American and Hispanic communities. “There is a perception Republicans don’t like people of color. They don’t like black people, brown people or people of different colored skin. It’s not true,” Paul said. “But that’s the perception that we have to overcome and the only way we overcome that I think is by showing up and saying over and over again it is not true.”
5. Henry David Thoreau is a mentor; Mitch McConnell not so much. Asked about whether Kentucky’s senior senator is a mentor, Paul answered with an instant classic: “Thoreau is a mentor.” He went on to say he’s backing McConnell’s reelection and that they have a fine personal relationship. McConnell backed Paul’s primary opponent in 2010, but Paul said, “I don’t think he ever personally disliked me.”