Milford, NH- Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul spoke at Milford Town Hall on Wednesday as part of his multi-state announcement tour. The Milford speech appealed to the conservative base while touching on a few liberty-minded ideas including pledging to protect Americans from bulk phone data collection by the federal government. He spoke briefly yet favorably about repealing unfair drug laws, avoiding unnecessary military intervention and promoting school choice.
While critical of both conservative and liberal policies, his tone about the future of America remained optimistic, saying that “America and freedom are so intertwined that people are literally dying to come to our country.”
Paul, in criticizing the national debt, was sure to place some of the responsibility of the Republican party. “It seems to me that both parties and the entire political system is to blame. Big government debt doubled under the Republicans and now its tripling under Barack Obama’s watch,” he said.
When moving to discuss the economy, Paul said that he has an “ambitious plan” that includes introducing “economic freedom zones to allow impoverished areas like Detroit, Chicago, and eastern Kentucky, to prosper not by taking your money,” but by “leaving more of their money in their pockets.”
Paul spoke in favor of term limits, saying that he ran for Senate because of career politicians “who go to Washington and never come home.” He said that “we need less career politicians now more than ever. We limit the president to two terms- it’s about time we limit the terms of Congress.”
Paul went on to praise the idea of school choice, which led to heavy applause from the crowd. “We need to top limiting our kids in poor neighborhoods to failing public schools and offering them school choice,” he said.
“Not only do we not need Common Core, we need school choice, let them have choice,” Paul declared.
Paul, who has been criticized for what some say is a weak foreign policy, spoke strongly of fighting terrorism while abiding by the Constitution. “Until we name the enemy, we cannot win the war,” he said. “This enemy is radical Islam.”
“I will do whatever it takes to defend america from these haters of mankind,” Paul claimed, while calling for “a national defense robust enough to defend against all attack, moderate enough to deter all enemies, and nimble enough to defend our vital interests.”
Paul warned against nation building, saying that “conservatives should not succumb to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow succeed in building nations abroad.” Paul said he envisions an America with a national defense that is “unparalleled, undefeatable, and unencumbered by overseas nation building.”
Later, Paul said that “we must defend ourselves, but we must never give up who we are as a people. We must never diminish the Bill of Rights as long as we fight this long war against evil.”
Paul went on to argue for the need to gather foreign intelligence while condemning the federal government’s collection of American phone records. Paul, a longtime critic of the NSA, said that to defend the country “we do need to gather intelligence on our enemy. But when the intelligence director is not punished for lying under oath, how are we to trust our government agencies?”
“Warrantless searches of Americans phone records and computer records, are un-American and a threat to our civil liberties. I say that your phone records are yours. I say the phone records of law abiding citizens are none of their damn business. The president created this vast dragnet by executive order. As President, on day one I will immediately end this unconstitutional program.”
In closing his speech, Paul said: “I see an America strong enough to deter foreign aggression, yet wise enough to avoid unnecessary intervention. I see an America where criminal justice is applied equally. And any law, like some of our drug laws, that disproportionately incarcerate people of color, should be repealed.”
“Today begins the journey to take America back, to rescue a great country now adrift. Join me as together we seek a new vision for America. Today, I announce that with God’s help, with the help of liberty lovers everywhere, that I am putting myself forward as a candidate to be President of the United States,” he concluded.