LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- In the latest sign of their unusual partnership, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) authors a profile of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) in TIME Magazine's 2014 list of "The 100 Most Influential People."
Praising Paul's "missionary zeal" to convert disparate populations to Republicanism, McConnell writes that the secret to the junior senator from Kentucky's success is his authenticity.
"It’s a trait that’s obvious to anyone who has seen him come out of a D.C. television studio in Ray-Bans and shorts, or hold the Senate floor for half a day to get answers from an imperious White House," McConnell writes.
An advocate of term limits, Paul has nonetheless endorsed McConnell's bid for a sixth six-year term in the U.S. Senate. As McConnell faces a Paul-esque challenge from tea party-backed Matt Bevin in the GOP primary, Paul has maintained the endorsement with tight-lipped confirmations.
McConnell's praise for Paul is markedly more effusive.
"He’s forcing people to rethink the Republican Party," McConnell writes of the likely 2016 presidential candidate. "He’s showing them we’re as serious about the Bill of Rights today as we were in 1860, when another Kentucky Republican built our party’s first great coalition. He’s having fun too. And that’s contagious."
After endorsing Paul's GOP primary opponent, Trey Grayson, in the 2010 Kentucky primary, McConnell and Paul have forged a mutually beneficial relationship. As Paul has vouched for McConnell to his libertarian followers, McConnell, the Republican Leader of the U.S. Senate, has used his considerable capitol clout to accelerate Paul's Washington influence, opening personal and procedural doors for the freshman senator.
McConnell writes that Paul has a "rare magnanimity, making common cause with anyone who agrees that an all-powerful government in Washington is a threat to individual liberty — and to the American project itself."