National Harbor, Md. — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul called for a new Republican Party at CPAC here today, rallying this conservative crowd around his libertarian message. “Our party has been encumbered by an inconsistent approach to freedom,” Paul said. “The new GOP needs to embrace freedom in both the economic and the personal sphere.”
Riding a wave of enthusiasm for his epic 13-hour filibuster last week, Paul touched on a range of issues that were once anathema to the Republican Party, including drones and decriminalization of drugs. Paul also called for Republicans to support his budget, which eliminates the Department of Education, halves the corporate income tax rate, and balances the budget in five years.
The message was a marked contrast to that of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who used his speech to position himself as a traditionalist Republican and social conservative. Avoiding his signature issue of immigration reform, Rubio stuck to red-meat topics like abortion, gay marriage, and school choice.
But it was Paul, not Rubio, who really revved up the crowd here. Paul supporters decked out with Stand With Rand banners and tee-shirts packed the auditorium, standing rapt at attention and cheering raucously for the Kentucky Republican’s libertarian message.
“If we’re going to have a Republican Party that can win, liberty needs to be the backbone of the GOP,” Paul concluded. “We must have a message that is broad, our vision must be broad, and that vision should be based on freedom.”
“I will stand for our prosperity and our freedom and I ask everyone who values liberty to stand with me.”
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