Speaking in Detroit on Friday night, Senator Rand Paul responded to a question from the audience about whether he’d run for president in 2016. Paul said that, at the moment, his wife was opposed to the idea.
“Where’s my cell phone? Can I call my wife?” Paul joked. “There’s two votes in my family. My wife has both of them and both of them are ‘no’ votes right now.”
“If I’m a very able politician, I’ll tell you in a year whether I’m able to persuade my wife. Right now, I don’t know yet, but I thank you for your interest,” he said.
Mrs. Paul, a former political consultant who has been married to the senator for 23 years, told Vogue magazine earlier this year what troubled her about Rand running for president:
“In this day and age it’s mostly about character assassination,” she said. “When I think of the tens of millions of dollars in opposition research that they’d be aiming right at us and our family – that’s what it’s about.”
This is not an uncommon attitude that spouses have about their husbands running for president. Even the most political of wives fear being ground down by a process that demands so much from the candidate and his family.
But as Paul says, he’s got a year to convince her otherwise.
Paul was in Detroit pushing an innovative plan to rescue distressed cities — a resurrection of Jack Kemp’s old “enterprise zones” idea:
“Detroit’s future will not come from Washington. The magic of Motown is here in the city,” he told nearly 400 people at the Motor City Casino in Detroit.
Paul proposed a wide-ranging plan to revitalize the nation’s cities through the creation of “economic freedom zones.” His plan would cut federal taxes in communities that have an unemployment rate of 12% or more.
Federal personal and corporate taxes would be lowered to 5%, and the federal payroll tax would be cut to 2% each for employees and employers.
“Inside these zones, we’ll suspend the capital gains tax and allow small businesses to deduct most of what they invest,” he said.
The plan would save Detroit $1.3 billion over the next 10 years, Paul said.
The tax breaks themselves aren’t much considering Detroit’s dire straits. But Paul is counting on a change in the psychology of the city which would lead to a flood of private investment and risk taking. It’s an untested concept, but if you need an urban laboratory, you won’t find a better place than Detroit. Any help at this point should be welcome.