Sen. Rand Paul played coy with the idea of a 2016 presidential run near the end of an interview on Monday.
“It must just be a coincidence. I don’t know why [Iowa and New Hampshire] keep popping up on my schedule,” he joked, when asked about his past visits to states with early Republican primaries.
Speaking on “Uncommon Knowledge” with Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institution, the Republican from Kentucky added in a more frank tone:
“Whether I do or don’t [run for president], I do want to be part of the Republican Party becoming a national party again.”
“I think we’ve become a regional party, and we’re seriously in danger of becoming a red-state party, but we have states we need to compete in,” he continued. “We need to compete in New England again. We’re losing our grip even in New Hampshire up there. We need to compete on the West Coast, and I truly think we can.”
Paul also claimed that his unique brand of libertarian-tinged Republican politics has the potential to bring new demographics together in support of the GOP in 2016.
“[The message] does need to be a less aggressive foreign policy,” Paul said. “It does need to be a message that allows people within the party to culturally disagree on some of the cultural issues, and it also needs to be a message that says to the youth, ‘We’re going to stand on principle. We’re going to stand for the bill of rights. We’re going to stand against indefinite detention, against a drone program that would strike Americans without any due process.'”
When asked about his 13-hour filibuster on the floor of the Senate in May to protest the Obama administration’s drone program, Paul highlighted the diversity of the voices raised in his support.
“[The filibuster’s] shown that, really, when you stand passionately on principle for something as sacred as the right to trial by jury, that it attracts people from across the spectrum,” he said. “And we’ve had people from the left, the right, the middle, a huge outpouring [of support]. I think we had a million retweets that day.”
Paul also addressed concerns some have raised that he is a carbon-copy of his father, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who ran for president three times on a libertarian platform. Sen. Paul pointed out as an example that he is in favor of a much more robust military than his more strictly isolationist father.
Watch (Skip to 37:03 for 2016 remarks):