Leading in the Republican Primary polls and fresh off both a Ron Paul campaign stop and a Sarah Palin endorsement, Rand Paul has rolled out the first TV ads of any candidate in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race.
The 30 second commercial is airing on cable television systems in Kentucky in commercial breaks on the Fox News Channel.
While the Tea Party theme of less government taxation and spending has been Paul's main message, the commercial focuses on national security, an area where rival Republican candidate Trey Grayson believes Paul is vulnerable.
Using comments made by Paul in previous interviews and appearances, the Grayson campaign has hammered Paul, saying he believes the United States should shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison camp which houses terrorism suspects.
Paul has repeatedly denied that characterization, leading to sniping between the men before a meeting of the Kentucky Association of Counties in November. After Grayson pointed out that he was merely quoting from Paul's own campaign website, Paul retorted "Learn to read."
In my interview with both Rand Paul and his father, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), Rand Paul explained that he differed with his father's position that Gitmo should be shut down.
In the commercial, Paul seems to be addressing the Grayson characterizations head on, saying, "I do not believe they should be tried in civilian court."
"ANNOUNCER: A strong national defense begins with strong leadership. Rand Paul will stop travel visas from terrorist nations and keep prisoners off U.S. Soil.
RAND PAUL: I think Prisoners of War, enemy combatants and terrorists captured on the battlefield should be tried in military court and not brought to the U.S. I do not believe they should be tried in civilian court.
ANNOUNCER: Conservative leadership for a safer America. Dr. Rand Paul for United States Senate.
RAND PAUL: I'm Rand Paul, and I approved this message.
I asked Paul campaign manager David Adams why Paul's first TV ad would focus on national security and if that is in response to the Grayson campaign. He acknowledged that the Paul campaign had two ads ready to go; the other is a more of an introduction of Rand Paul, but that the national defense ad allows the campaign to both introduce Paul and capitalize on an issue that is resonating with voters now.
Many political strategists believe Scott Brown's upset win in Massachusetts was as much about national security and terrorism as a backlash to Obamacare.
Regarding Grayson defining Paul's position on Gitmo, Adams said "Grayson has been all over the place. He's been making up falsehoods about Rand as fast as his little feet will run."
"Kentucky is a pro military state and strong on national defense," Adams continued, "Rand Paul is pro military and strong on national defense."
Adams adds that Paul's fiscal conservative arguments also apply to his national security positions because "the way we go about funding national defense affects our solvency."
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