Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) did tell a small audience of Republicans at a GOP field office in suburban Detroit Oct. 29 that the “GOP brand sucks.” But he spent far more time attacking the Democrat whose brand he might have to battle in 2016 for the White House if they both decide to run, along with the Democrat who lives now at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
“Everything he touches turns to stone,” Paul said, referring to President Obama.
There is little doubt Hillary Clinton would be the presumptive nominee if the Democratic Party held its 2016 convention any time in the near future. The Real Clear Politics average of polls has the former U.S. secretary of State ahead of her closest theoretical Democratic challenger, Vice President Joe Biden, by 52 points.
Paul is hardly the presumptive nominee of his party, which he criticized for not making its case effectively when he explained that the “GOP brand sucks.” The Real Clear Politics average of polls has him in the lead, but only by 0.2 points.
A Quinnipiac University poll released in June also had Clinton ahead of all her possible Democratic opponents by a ridiculous margin, 58 percent. A survey of likely Republican voters showed Paul led the GOP field by a substantially smaller margin, 11 percent.
“Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes a ton of heat on wealth, book sales and her legacy at the State Department, but she emerges with no serious Democratic challenger, while the Republican field remains clustered and flustered,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
Other possible Democratic Party presidential contenders may be circling Clinton, but so far they have all pledged their loyalty to her and refused to take any bait for an attack. Republicans, on the other hand, have jumped at the tiniest drop of blood in the water.
And so Paul began his day in the shadow of the Motor City by ridiculing Hillary Clinton for saying that corporations and businesses don’t create jobs.
“Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” Clinton told a campaign rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley in Massachusetts.
The former Democratic senator from New York said later she was trying to show “trickle-down economics” had been a “spectacular failure.”
A few days after Republicans from sea to shining sea pounced on the Clinton quote with the same fervor Rand Paul would continue showing in suburban Detroit, Clinton went for a do-over.
“Our economy grows when businesses and entrepreneurs create good-paying jobs…not when we hand out tax breaks for corporations that outsource jobs or stash their profits overseas,” Clinton told a campaign rally in New York.
That cleanup wasn’t good enough for Sen. Paul.
“What planet does she live on?” he asked Republicans crowded inside a small GOP field office in Livonia, Mich., outside Detroit. “How could we possibly consider a party that fundamentally misunderstands what made America great?”
Paul repeated his criticism of the former secretary of State at a Lincoln Day GOP banquet that evening in Oakland County, Mich.
“How many people here don’t work for a business?” Paul asked the audience. “That is just ridiculous.”
Paul also said the Clinton stumble showed the difference between Democrats and Republicans.
“I don’t understand how there could be anyone who hasn’t decided there is a different vision between the parties.”
Paul didn’t cut Clinton any slack either on her attack on corporations that were moving corporate headquarters overseas for a better tax rate.
“You want American jobs to come home from overseas?” Paul said. “You have to make money welcome. There is more than $2 trillion in American profit overseas that won’t come home because it is not welcome here.”
Paul said corporations are not going to bring those profits back to the U.S. if they are forced to pay a tax rate of 35 percent on the money after paying a 20 percent tax rate in Europe.
“The president wants to call them ‘unpatriotic’ or ‘tax cheats’,” said Paul, “but they are acting in the best interests of their companies. If you want them to bring the money home, make the rules better at home.”
During Senate hearings, Paul has defended several companies including Apple and Caterpillar, which were criticized for moving their corporate headquarters to Ireland.
“Frankly, I am offended by the tone and tenor of this meeting,” Rand said during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee hearing in May 2013 upon hearing criticism of Apple’s move offshore.
“I am offended by a $4 trillion government bullying, berating, and badgering one of America’s greatest success stories.”
Paul also said in suburban Detroit on Oct. 29 that the Obama administration — and by inference, Hillary Clinton — has been like the “Old MacDonald’s Farm of scandals.”
“Here a scandal, there a scandal, everywhere a scandal,” said Paul. “But probably the one that bothers me most is Benghazi.”
He circled back to the Democrats’ early choice for the 2016 presidential nomination and blamed Clinton for Benghazi.
Paul told his audience during the Lincoln Day Dinner that when she was U.S. secretary of State, Clinton rejected “dozens of requests for reinforcements and more security” at the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi for six to nine months before the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
Clinton might not have approved better security or more U.S. troops for the facility, but Paul said the State Department approved spending $650,000 to recruit new Facebook friends, and tens of thousands more dollars to make the U.S. Embassy in Vienna “greener” by adding a new fuel-efficient electric generator.
Paul also told his cheering audiences that the GOP has a real chance to take the Senate in November and the White House in 2016.
“I think the wind is at our back. I’ve been to 32 different states. People do want a change,” he said.