The way to win more voters to the Republican banner is to guard “the whole Bill of Rights,” not just the Second Amendment, Sen. Rand Paul told an enthusiastic crowd of conservatives this afternoon.
“We have to defend the whole Bill of Rights.”-@SenRandPaul at #CPAC2015
Democratic and independent voters too often identify the GOP with zealously defending the right to bear arms, Paul said in a brief question-and-answer session following a 15-minute speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, meeting just outside Washington.
The Kentucky Republican, who devoted much of his prepared remarks to urging his audience to defend their liberty from government intrusions such as data collection, specifically said conservatives also must guard rights guaranteed by the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments.
“We have to defend the whole Bill of Rights,” Paul said, adding that big government doesn’t necessarily deliver justice left to its own devices.
Asked what one constitutional amendment he’d like to see, Paul quickly replied, “Term limits.”
>>> Commentary: How the Founders Decided to Add the Bill of Rights
His greatest criticism of Congress? “That it’s dysfunctional. We can’t get anything done. … We lurch from one deadline to the next one.”
Although Paul was interrupted frequently by applause, and at one point shouts of “President Paul,” many in the audience did not stand while his supporters did.
One reason: Doubts about his libertarian-influenced foreign policy prescriptions. Asked about that, Paul said that although national defense is the government’s most important function, “we’re not all the same” on foreign policy.
“Some think we should never be anywhere, others say we should be everywhere all the time,” he said.
But the Constitution, he said to applause, says that war should be “declared and initiated” by Congress.
By the time CPAC wraps on Saturday evening, most of the likeliest GOP candidates for president will have spoken to the crowd of conservative activists gathered at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center just outside Washington in National Harbor, Md.