WASHINGTON – The Democratic Party isn’t waiting until Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul officially declares his candidacy for president.
The Democrats already are blistering the front-runner Republican, an obvious strategy to bloody the senator even before he gets in the race – that is, if he gets in the race.
Just look at what the Democratic National Committee peppered reporters with over the last couple of days as Paul made a three-day swing through the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus state of Iowa.
On Monday, DNC National Press Secretary Michael Czin sent a memo to the press noting that Paul was campaigning for Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who said Congress should “take a look” at impeaching President Barack Obama.
“Rand Paul may like to say he’s a new type of Republican, but today he’s proving he’s not,” Czin said.
Later in the day, the DNC sent out two more press releases (one jointly with the National Jewish Democratic Council), accusing Paul of being inconsistent on his position regarding U.S. aid to Israel.
On Tuesday came another release on Paul’s Israel statements and another statement on Paul’s connections to King and the latter’s position on impeachment. Later, the DNC noted there was a video showing Paul abruptly leaving the table mid-bite after meeting immigration activists who confronted King about his statements on those crossing the border from Mexico. The Democrats also made much of Republican strategist Hogan Gidley saying on MSNBC that Paul was “clunky” and “clumsy on the campaign trail.”
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On Wednesday, more of the same from the DNC, first an attack on Paul for his position on birth control, then criticism for his views on same sex marriage, and finally a summary of the senator’s Iowa tour that concluded Paul is “the same old, far-right, out of touch Republican that voters have kicked to the curb cycle after cycle.”
Check your calendar, folks. It’s August 2014.
Paul told me recently he will not make a decision on running for the White House “in the beginning of 2015 sometime or the spring of 2015.”
But the Democratic “oppo” research machine on Paul obviously is up and running.
It makes sense. Polls already show Paul leading or tied for the lead in Iowa and New Hampshire, and he is being declared the early Republican front-runner.
The senator himself is taking a lot of early shots at likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, who likewise is leading in all polls in her party.
In Okoboji, Iowa, Monday, Paul did it again, according to a story by Jennifer Jacobs in The Des Moines Register, a sister paper to The Courier-Journal.
“I think the (scandal) that bothers me the worst is Benghazi,” Paul told a crowd of about 200 at an open-air bar. “The thing about it is is that it was one bad decision after another. The media tries to say, ‘Oh, you Republicans you’re just making this into a partisan issue.’ Here’s the thing: Hillary would like to be the leader of the free world. I think her decisions are fair game for discussing.”
He said his reaction to the former secretary of state’s handling of the Libya attack was, “You know what, by not reading the cables, by not providing security, I think you have precluded yourself from ever being considered as commander in chief.”
In fact, just as the DNC has gone after Paul, the Republican National Committee has been eager to undercut Clinton.
The RNC recently launched a website aimed at highlighting her alleged “out of touch” comments on her family’s wealth. The site is called PoorHillaryClinton.com.
As for Paul being targeted by the Democratic Party?
Doug Stafford, executive director of the senator’s political action committee, RANDPAC, responded.
“Senator Paul has shown he can stand for conservative ideals that excite the base of the GOP, while at the same time having the broadest reach to independents and Democrats,” Stafford said in a statement. “Apparently, that worries the DNC, as their constant attacks show.”
The DNC isn’t focused only on Paul; other would-be Republican presidential hopefuls also are being slammed early.
The party has taken on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to task on his handling of the George Washington Bridge lane-closings scandal and other issues; ripped into Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for last fall’s government shutdown; torn into Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan for his budget proposals and questioned Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s stance on climate change.
This week, it was Rand Paul’s turn in the DNC mixer.
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