CONCORD, N.H. – Senator Rand Paul went on the attack against the rest of the presidential field when he strolled through the Secretary of State’s office here to file for the momentous New Hampshire primary Friday, blasting Marco Rubio over military spending, calling the Clintons “corrupt,” and labeling Donald Trump’s deportation plan “absurd.”
Paul continued the clash he had with Rubio during Tuesday night’s debate over military involvement and spending. “Rubio took the easy way out and called me a name,” Paul claimed, referring to the debate moment when the Florida senator called him an “isolationist.”
“I do want to challenge the notion though that you can be fiscally conservative and be liberal on military spending,” Paul said. “Marco Rubio has offered a trillion dollars in new spending proposals for the military. That's just not frankly conservative. That would blow a hole in the budget. It would explode the deficit and I think we become weaker as we get farther into debt.”
“I won’t relent on this,” Paul said. “I’m gonna ask Marco Rubio every day where’s the money.”
Paul also elbowed his way into the immigration debate enveloping the Republican Party again this week, joking that business mogul Donald Trump’s suggestion to deport all of the nation’s undocumented immigrants would contain “really nice buses, air conditioned. I heard he was gonna give out party favors.”
Then he turned to a serious tone to condemn the proposal.
“It’s an absurd idea, to round up 11 million,” Paul said. “What’s absurd about his idea is not only the rounding up part. He says, ‘oh, we're gonna welcome them all back, most of them are coming back.' Well if you take the time to send them home for breaking the law, why would you then immediately say you could come back. It’s an absurd idea.”
Paul went after Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton hard, charging that her “lack of defense” in the Benghazi scandal precludes her from being president. Speaking of the Clintons, Paul also told reporters, “I think they are corrupt. I think they are bad for the country.” He continued, “I think the Clinton Foundation should be scrutinized.”
It wasn’t all attacks on Friday. Touching on the serious heroin and addiction crisis that is gripping the state, Paul touted a Senate bill where he joined forces with Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., to address the issue by loosening restrictions on the number of patients doctors can assist with specific treatments for opioid addiction.
“Drug addiction is a scourge and heroin is something that ruins the lives of kids, and you lose your children that way, many of them to suicide or just to the ravages of drug addiction,” Paul stated.
He also voiced concern that the role of polls in this election in deciding who makes it into debates is damaging the system of choosing a nominee, echoing a similar sentiment from Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Sen. Rick Santorum in the same chair just a day earlier.
“I think this election has a greater reliance on polls the any presidential election that I’ve been involved with before,” Paul said. “I think that’s to the detriment of the process.”
As Paul moved through Secretary of State Bill Gardner’s office to sign his paperwork for the primary, he was treated to a history lesson from Gardner about the primary. Memorabilia from presidential primaries over the last few decades line the wall of the office, and Gardner pointed out a photo on the wall of Paul’s father, Ron Paul, from when he ran for president.
As all of the candidates pass through the office for the ritual of filing for the primary, they sign a “Notice to Voters” sheet with a line about what’s on their mind or a slogan. Since many candidates have already passed through and the space on the sheet was limited, Paul elected to just write his signature.
After the filing process, Paul proceeded outside to the steps of the capitol to greet a gathering of exuberant supporters chanting, “President Paul! President Paul!” and he was serenaded by a song about how laws are made before proclaiming to his fans that he feels good about New Hampshire.
Not one to worry about bad luck, Paul was the 13th major candidate to file for the New Hampshire primary this year, and he happened to do it on Friday the 13th.