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In Concord, Rand Paul raises cash for N.H. GOP and stokes 2016 speculation

  • A place setting announces Kentucky senator Rand Paul and GOP Chairman Reince Priebus as speakers for a fund-raising dinner for the New Hampshire Republican Party at the Grappone Center in Concord; Monday, May 20, 2013. <br/><br/>ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff

    A place setting announces Kentucky senator Rand Paul and GOP Chairman Reince Priebus as speakers for a fund-raising dinner for the New Hampshire Republican Party at the Grappone Center in Concord; Monday, May 20, 2013.

    ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff

  • Kentucky senator Rand Paul speaks to reporters before a fund-raising dinner for the New Hampshire Republican Party at the Grappone Center in Concord; Monday, May 20, 2013. <br/><br/>ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff

    Kentucky senator Rand Paul speaks to reporters before a fund-raising dinner for the New Hampshire Republican Party at the Grappone Center in Concord; Monday, May 20, 2013.

    ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff

  • Republican national Committee Chairman Reince Priebus speaks to reporters before a fund-raising dinner for the New Hampshire Republican Party at the Grappone Center in Concord; Monday, May 20, 2013. <br/><br/>ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff

    Republican national Committee Chairman Reince Priebus speaks to reporters before a fund-raising dinner for the New Hampshire Republican Party at the Grappone Center in Concord; Monday, May 20, 2013.

    ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff

  • Devin Standard of Bedford folds tee-shirts with the slogan "Stand with Rand"  outside  the Grapponse Center room where Kentucky senator Rand Paul will speak to the New Hampshire Republican Party; Monday, May 20, 2013. <br/><br/>ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff

    Devin Standard of Bedford folds tee-shirts with the slogan "Stand with Rand" outside the Grapponse Center room where Kentucky senator Rand Paul will speak to the New Hampshire Republican Party; Monday, May 20, 2013.

    ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff

  • A place setting announces Kentucky senator Rand Paul and GOP Chairman Reince Priebus as speakers for a fund-raising dinner for the New Hampshire Republican Party at the Grappone Center in Concord; Monday, May 20, 2013. <br/><br/>ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff
  • Kentucky senator Rand Paul speaks to reporters before a fund-raising dinner for the New Hampshire Republican Party at the Grappone Center in Concord; Monday, May 20, 2013. <br/><br/>ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff
  • Republican national Committee Chairman Reince Priebus speaks to reporters before a fund-raising dinner for the New Hampshire Republican Party at the Grappone Center in Concord; Monday, May 20, 2013. <br/><br/>ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff
  • Devin Standard of Bedford folds tee-shirts with the slogan "Stand with Rand"  outside  the Grapponse Center room where Kentucky senator Rand Paul will speak to the New Hampshire Republican Party; Monday, May 20, 2013. <br/><br/>ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was in Concord last night, raising money for the New Hampshire Republican Party and talking like a man kicking the tires on a run for president in 2016.

“We need to be that party of opportunity. We need to be that party that can express it in a way that shows that we care about people,” Paul told a crowd of about 500 Republicans. “We need to care about people even if they are on government assistance. People on unemployment aren’t bad people. People who are on welfare aren’t bad people. We need to be able to express that we’re the party that’s going to give them the opportunity to join the rest of us in the middle class.”

Tickets for the GOP’s sold-out Liberty Dinner started at $75, and Paul himself contributed $10,000 to the state party, said Chairwoman Jennifer Horn.

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, also spoke at the dinner, blasting President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and “government gone wild.”

But Paul was the star attraction, even if he deflected a reporter’s question about 2016 and his support in the state with the first presidential primary.

“It’s top secret,” Paul said with a laugh. He added that “we’ve had a lot of friends up here for years” but his focus right now is “how we try to grow the party.”

But the first-term senator also suggested his brand of libertarian-minded politics would do well in New Hampshire. His father, former Texas congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul, finished second in last year’s primary behind eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

“There’s a great deal of evidence we’re not doing well in New England,

and I think people want more of a ‘leave me alone’ kind of government in New Hampshire,” the younger Paul told reporters. “You know, ‘Live Free or Die.’ ”

Obama, a Democrat, was sworn in for his second term just four months ago. But potential presidential candidates like Paul are already finding reasons to visit Iowa, home of the first presidential caucuses, and New Hampshire, which will hold the first primary in 2016.

Following a “listening session” yesterday afternoon with Priebus and party activists, Paul told reporters the GOP must broaden its appeal to win in the future.

“We need to have black people, brown people, white people. We need to have people with tattoos, without tattoos, with long hair, with short hair, with beards, without beards. We need to look more like America. We need to appeal to the working class, we need to appeal to all segments of the country,” Paul said. “And I don’t think we’ve done a good enough job yet, and that’s why I want to be part of saying, ‘This is how we become competitive again.’ ”

Last night’s dinner drew a big crowd, and that’s good news both for the state GOP and for Paul, said Mike Biundo, the Manchester-based strategist who ran Rick Santorum’s 2012 presidential campaign.

“The first-in-the-nation primary is obviously an important piece of the puzzle to anybody who’s thinking about running for president. It’s a long time off, but I think he’s making a lot of the right moves,” Biundo said. “I mean, the senator’s coming up here early. He’s paying attention to the activists. He’s trying to expand his base from what his dad had. And those are all important things you have to do in New Hampshire.”

But Ray Buckley, chairman of the state Democratic Party, issued a statement calling Paul’s appearance proof “that the New Hampshire Republican Party has turned its back on traditional Granite State values, in a desperate attempt to become the face and voice of the irresponsible tea party and radical social conservatives.”

Legacy Comments8

What a parade through recent history: Allan Keyes, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Joe Lieberman, to say nothing of our TV channels loaded with programs that are simply exaltation of the toothless. And now that buffoon - yes, BUFFOON - Rand Paul is discussed as a potential presidential candidate. Do we need further proof of this country's decline from "the last best hope for man on earth" to a circus incapable of self government?

Wait...While I believe you may in fact know what a buffoon is, your skill at giving examples is terrible. Let me give you some much better examples of Buffoons. John Edwards, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, and MY ALL TIME FAVORITE Al "interloper" Sharpton.

Every one of the examples you cite accepts evolution as a given. Every one of them recognizes the separation of church and state. Every one of them has demonstrated a at least basic grasp of economics. You may disagree with every position he has ever taken, but you can't realistically quibble with Kucinich's understanding of political process. OK - I'll give you Al Sharpton.

LOL..at least we found common ground.

Decades of public service are going to reveal some mistakes and errors of judgement, but I'd hardly rank Biden, Dodd, Richardson, or Kucinich 'buffoons'. Sharpton was and is a publicity hound. Edwards' personal behavior was beyond the pale.

I liked it when Rand filibustered 'til he had to pee. That's about all I've ever liked from him. Whatever happened to Chris Christie, I remember like it was only yesterday all the right-wing talkies on the boob-tube as well as all the right-wing posties on here were singing his praises. Oh yeah, that's right . . . he touched Obama. Gee, I thought the right was all about "principles and values" . . . now they seem to be about . . . "EEEWWWWW - COOTIES!!!!!!!!!"

I can tell you what happened to Christie HD. He is a Rep in a Democratic State. He decided that he would forgo all the pork that was in the bill, take a tantrum, and say gimmee the billions. So much for his rep as being fiscally responsible. Then he lied about the pork being cut out of the relief bill. I guess it did not hurt also that the Prez introduced him to the Boss. Prior to that, the Boss would not even acknowledge Christie at his concerts. Christie is a huge fan. The Boss hugged him at the relief concert and Christie was awestruck. Billions to one of the most corrupt states in the US. What could possibly go wrong?

Wait..Ray Buckley is now the voice of traditional Granite State values??? http://youtu.be/XLFKtFFvwog.....Mr Paul is a good man and Buckleys statement is more of the same old tired crap that we could certainly do without. Good Luck MR Paul.

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