Meet the Press   |  January 26, 2014

Rand Paul Discusses RNC, NSA, Chris Christie and the GOP

Kentucky Sen Rand Paul discusses his opinion on NSA leaker Edward Snowden's actions, remarks on women made by Mike Huckabee at the RNC winter meeting and the future of the GOP.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> the issue of edward snowden has been very much in the news this week with calls potentially for a deal with the united states government . you've called him a hero. you've said perhaps he would face penalties that would be too harsh. that's why he's not returning. "the wall street journal " editorial --

>> go ahead.

>> i was just going to say that's not exactly what i've said. i've said i have sort of mixed feelings. i think he's brought to forward something and i think his motives are noble in the sense i think he believe ooze the government was doing something unconstitutional and bringing this information forward. i don't think we'd have any of this debate had he not done it, but i've also said what he did was against the law and we do have to have laws to protect national secrets, you know, captains in the military, sergeants in the military do have to obey orders and we can't reveal secrets. i haven't said he shouldn't be punished. i've just said the death penalty is excessive. life in prison is excess sessive and he has brought an important debate.

>> what would you call on the attorney general, the president to do in terms of fashioning some kind of plea with him? what would be appropriate?

>> i'm not sure what the answer is. i've been responding not so much in a legal fashion but i'm responding to some i think overheated rhetoric by people saying let's string him up, let's shoot him. he's a traitor, this and that. i don't assign bad motives to snowden . i think his motives were good. i'm not sure he did the right thing in the right way. i also don't assign bad motives to james clapper but he did break the law and he is exposed himself to five years in prison for perjury. so you can't have it both ways. you can't say we're going to throw the book at snowden and going to ignore perjury to congress by james clapper . they both, if you want to apply the law, it has to be applied equally.

>> about what your colleagues the chairs of the intelligence committees, namely mike rogers in the house strongly suggesting on this program last week that snowden was a spy for the russians that he had help from the russians that he went into the open arms of the russians to seek refuge there? how do you react to that? do you think that's fair?

>> you know, i don't have details to know what the situation is there. i think it's complicated the way history will treat him because it's a little hard to be over there in russia talking about privacy and the bill of rights in a country that has persecuted journalists and doesn't really have the same degree of freedom we have in our country. so it has complicated it. but i don't know whether or not what his release and exactly what they're referring to.

>> let me ask you more about some of the debates within the republican party . mike huckabee former governor of arkansas got nest hot water this week with comments he said. he talked about a war for women . here's what he said.

>> the democrats want to insult the women of america by making them believe that they are helpless without uncle sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they can't control their libido or reproductive system without the help of the government. so be it. let us take that discussion all across america because women are far more than the democrats have played them to be.

>> is this helpful?

>> well, you know, we have a lot of debates in washington that get dumbed down and used for political purposes. this whole sort of war on women thing, i'm scratching my head because if there was a war on women , i think they won. you know, the women in my family are incredibly successful. i have a niece at cornell vet school and 85% of the young people there are women in. in med school , 55%. my younger sister is an ob-gyn with six kids and doing great. i don't see so much that women are downtrodden. i see them rising up and doing great things. in fact, i worry about our young men sometimes because i think the women are outcompeting the men in our world.

>> but my question whether you think it's appropriate for the party key figures in the party to be talking about women , women 's het, women 's bodies and the role of the federal government related to those things.

>> i try never to have discussions of anatomy unless i'm at a medical conference. what i would say is we didn't start this sort of, i think, glossy and sometimes dumbed down debate about there being a war on women . i think the facts show that women are doing very well, have come a long way, and you know, like i say, i have a lot of successful women in my family and i don't hear them saying, whoa is me, this terrible you know, misojist world. they're conquering the world. the women ? my family are doing great. that's what i see in all the sticks coming out. i have, you know, young women in my office that are the leading intellectual lights of our office. so i don't really see there's some sort of war that's you know, keeping women down. i see women doing great and i think we should extol that success and not dumb it down into a political campaign that somehow one party doesn't like women or that. i think that's what's happened. all for political purposes.

>> elsewhere in republican politics, chris christie in new jersey is facing troubles over the bridge scandal there. and you've had your own feud with him. here's a little bit of tape that brings people up to date on that.

>> this strain of liberty tearism that's going through through both parties right now and making big headlines i think is a very dangerous thought.

>> if he cared about protecting this country, maybe he wouldn't be in this gimme, gimme, gimme all the money you have in washington .

>> maybe he should start look at cutting pork barrel spending he brings home to kentucky but i doubt he would because most washington politicians only care about bringing home the bacon so they can get re-elected.

>> this is the king of bacon talking about bacon.

>> understand you two have been working through some of your feud. but my question for you is, do you think that chris christie could get the republican nomination?

>> you know, i think that's yet to be determined. the nomination goes through some very conservative primaries. i think there's room for more moderate republicans in the party and i really am a believer that we should have an expansive and diverse party idea logically and diverse in many ways but the primary is a very conservative process, and the -- my understanding is it will be more difficult for a moderate to make it through because we truly are fiscal conservatives in our party. if we are going to spend something on such as sandy, which is i think something the country was going to take responsibility in, we think we should pay for it. i offered an amendment on sandy to take the money everyone foreign aid and say look, we don't need it. if we're going to repair bridges in new jersey, i'm fine with that. if we're going to repair houses and roads, but let's take it from repairing roads in pakistan because there's a limited amount of money and really we're borrowing about a million dollars a minute a lot from china and japan. i don't think we should do that and we need to set priorities and say if we're going to help new jersey, it ought to be paid for. but that's why i think that there was a debate over him sort of lecturing congress and saying gimme gimme gimme all this money. all i was asking for and many other republicans were asking for is it ought to be paid for in spending cuts through overseas is spending