Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s recent comments on abortion should be interpreted to mean Democrats support the “third-trimester abortions of seven, eight, nine-pound babies.”
In an wide-ranging interview with The Daily Caller, the Republican presidential candidate predicted that Wasserman Schultz’s “extreme position” on abortion could cause people to flee the Democratic Party.
“It sounds like she has said that it’s a private decision, whether it’s a 7-pound baby, a 8-pound baby or 9-pound baby,” Paul told TheDC when asked about his recent back-and-forth with the Democrat on the issue. “And so yeah, I think that’s alarming.”
“I know a lot of people who aren’t necessarily pro-life who have mixed feelings on these issues,” he said. “They might even be pro-choice. But not many of them I know are big fans of third trimester abortions of seven, eight, nine-pound babies.”
On Wednesday, Wasserman Schultz responded to Paul’s comments on abortion by saying: “I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved. Period. End of story.”
Paul says reporters should ask Wasserman Schultz if that means she is against any restrictions whatsoever, including late-term abortions.
“I think the next question for her should be: ‘Is that the official position of the Democratic Party to be in favor of third-trimester abortions of seven, eight, nine-pound babies?’ A lot of people have left the Democratic Party over their extreme position. I think there will be more leaving if they find out that’s the official position,” Paul said.
Paul, who entered the race for the White House this week, answered questions from TheDC Thursday about his campaign, the Patriot Act, education, the death penalty, the Supreme Court and foreign policy.
Asked about his “defeat the Washington Machine” campaign slogan, Paul called for “dramatic reforms.”
“One would be term limits,” he said. “And I think we need that. Another would be changing the rules and saying we have to balance the budget. I don’t trust either party to balance the budget. And I don’t think it’s ever going to happen until we force them to balance the budget by law.”
Paul said he welcomes the upcoming debate over reauthorizing the Patriot Act, something he opposes.
“You know, I think that if people want to have a debate over whether or not people should get due process, whether or not someone could be detained and sent to prison without a lawyer without a trial, I’m champing at the bit and ready to have that debate,” he said.
He dodged a question about his personal views on whether the death penalty should be legal, saying: “Most of the things like that, as far as penalties, are decided by states, not by the federal government.”
Discussing what qualities will be most important to him should he have the opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice, Paul said: “I think wisdom. I think the ability to get beyond partisanship. Thoughtfulness. Fidelity to the Constitution.”
Asked what makes him think it’s actually possible to get rid of the Department of Education, considering Ronald Reagan wasn’t able to, Paul argued there’s a “growing consensus that centralizing education is not a good idea.”
He said “you would need” a “coalition” of teachers to implement those changes.
“You would need basically the teachers groups to come forward and say, ‘you know what, we’d rather have that money locally and not spent by a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington,’” Paul argued.
Asked about recent attacks on his foreign policy positions — including an ad showing Paul expressing doubt in 2007 that Iran is a threat to the United States — Paul explained that his views have changed as events have changed.
“I think your views on foreign policy should reflect events, so it’d be kind of crazy to think your views would not change as events change,” he said. “So for example, I’ve always thought Iran getting a nuclear weapon was a bad idea and dangerous to our country. But over the last eight years, as Iran has made progress in their nuclear enrichment program, it’s become more of a danger. So to say it was the same danger as eight years ago would be basically a foolish notion.”
Paul disputed the notion, when asked, if he thinks his views on foreign policy have become less libertarian since being elected.
“I mean, if you read my speech from Tuesday, you’ll see quite a few lines saying that we should have a strong national defense but be reluctant to engage in war,” he said.
Asked what sort of changes he’d like to see to campaign finance law, Paul suggested making it where those who get major government contracts have to give up their ability to donate money to politicians or engage in lobbying.
“I think there might be a way to construct legislation that would pass muster with the Supreme Court to say that you know, if you’re going to get a 10 billion contract with government, part of the contract you have to sign with government to get the work, you voluntarily give up some up of your lobbying and some of your contributions,” he said. “And I think that would pass constitutional muster, because it would be voluntary, it would be part of a contract. And the same would have to apply to big business and would also have to apply to big labor as well.”
Paul — who on Wednesday was coincidentally in North Charleston, South Carolina campaigning in the same city where a police officer has been charged with murder — expressed a desire for more police body cameras.
“I think they helped protect the police as much anything else,” Paul said. “They protect the citizenry, but they also help protect the police. I think it’s important that we not forget the vast majority of policeman are good people. Like the rest of the public, there’s a rotten apple here and there, and they should be punished. But mostly good people. And I think the dash cams, the body cams help people remember someone is watching. But they also help protect people from false allegations as well.”