Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) argued Monday that he's doing more to spread the principles of liberty and constitutionalism to audiences that Republicans tend to ignore, and that this makes him more likely to win in 2016 than one of his rivals, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
"I guess what makes us different is probably our approaches to how we would make the party bigger," Paul said on Fox News Monday night. "I'm a big believer that you should stand on principle and be true to your principles, but I also think that we should take those principles and try to bring in new people."
"So I spent the last couple of years trying to go places Republicans haven't gone, and maybe not just throwing out red meat, but actually throwing out something intellectually enticing to people who haven't been listening to our message before," he said.
Paul agreed that he and Cruz, who announced Monday that he'd run for the White House, are very similar Republicans when it comes to policy. But Paul has clearly done more in the last few years to reach out to audiences that aren't part of the GOP base.
Paul has worked with Democrats on several ideas to reform the criminal justice system. For example, he supports changes to the law to ensure people who've been to prison can still vote, and to end minimum sentences for people convicted of drug crimes.
In 2014, Paul lamented that American prisons are "full of black and brown kids" who are there mostly because they can't afford a good lawyer.
"I also am able to take the message of liberty and the Bill of Rights and take it to Howard University, to the Urban League, to NAACP, to Ferguson, to Berkeley, and try to bring new people into the party," Paul said.
"Ted Cruz is a conservative, but it also goes to winnability, and people will have to make a decision, which is the Republican that can not only excite the base, but can also bring new people into the party without giving up the principles," he said.
While Paul touts working with Democrats as a way to win the general election, it's not clear how well that will go over in the primaries, where he'll have to win the Republican nomination. But Paul said his plan is paying off, as some polls show he's the only Republican who can beat Hillary Clinton.
He stressed that any Republican who wins the nomination will have to fight hard and go after Clinton, who is still the expected Democratic nominee.
"You need somebody who will ask the tough questions about why in Benghazi that she didn't provide the security that our ambassador needed," Paul said. "These are really important questions, and we won't win unless we do aggressively combat her and make sure that she has to explain her record as well."
Paul hasn't announced his intentions for 2016, but has hinted at a run and is expected to make a formal announcement on April 7.