Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul referred to himself as a “candidate” in a tweet about the National Security Agency Sunday.
I'm the only candidate who thinks the NSA program on phone records should be shut down. #sxsw
— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) March 15, 2015
Many Twitter users quickly picked up on the reference, asking the senator to clarify what he meant.
— Alex Pappas (@AlexPappas) March 15, 2015
.@SenRandPaul Candidate for…
— Ned Resnikoff (@resnikoff) March 15, 2015
— Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) March 15, 2015
.@SenRandPaul interesting way to announce your candidacy for POTUS, but okay
— Tamara (@LibertarianSass) March 15, 2015
However, Paul’s assertion that he is the only “candidate” who thinks the NSA program on phone records should be shut down is actually not true. Paul voted against cloture for the USA Freedom Act in 2014, which would have reined in the NSA’s bulk collection of phone data, and the bill failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance. Paul voted no because the bill would have reauthorized some Patriot Act provisions until 2017.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another potential presidential candidate, voted for cloture.
Paul could be referring to his Kentucky reelection, but that is unlikely because he is the only person currently running.