Rand Paul got the political gossip mill churning recently with blistering comments on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the developing Benghazi story. Doesn’t seem all that out of the ordinary, except that his comments were delivered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which is where many presidential campaigns get their unofficial start.
Speaking at the Iowa GOP’s annual Lincoln Dinner this week, Paul was skeptical of the state department’s official response in the early days after the Benghazi embassy attack, as well as their apparent neglect in providing requested security for the consulate.
“First question to Hillary Clinton: Where in the hell were the Marines?” Paul asked.
“It was inexcusable, it was a dereliction of duty, and it should preclude her from holding higher office,” he added to applause.
Hillary Clinton is thought to be the front Democratic runner for a 2016 presidential bid (though Joe Biden has also expressed interest), and the GOP has been “auditioning” potential candidates, all in the hopes of bagging their first presidential election since 2004.
On the Republican side, names like Marco Rubio and Chris Christie have been bandied about, but neither have confirmed interest in running for the 2016 election. Rand Paul, a junior Kentucky Senator, seems to have unofficially thrown his hat in the ring with his Lincoln Dinner speech.
Paul also talked a bit about immigration reform, one of the most pressing issues in American politics today. He noted that he does support immigration reform, though legislation must not neglect border security.
“I’m also with Sen. Grassley and Congressman King on the fact that I think we were hoodwinked in 1968,” he said. “We were promised security, and it never came.”
1968 was the last year Congress passed meaningful immigration reform. Paul also noted that it is important to reach out to minorities, something the GOP has been struggling with.
“We’re an increasingly diverse nation, and I think we do need to reach out to other people that aren’t like us, don’t look like us, don’t wear the same clothes, that aren’t exactly who we are,” he said. “We’re going to have to do something.”
Do you think that Rand Paul could stand a chance against Hillary Clinton in 2016?
[Image via: Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons]