Who is your pick for Ky. Senator?
An interesting campaign year is ahead across America and here in Kentucky with tightly contested races and several Republican primaries revealing the GOP's inner struggles.
Leading in the polls in the Kentucky U.S. Senate primary is candidate Rand Paul who joined WHAS11’s Joe Arnold in an exclusive interview along with Paul’s father, Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
It's an unlikely scenario, a doctor from Texas and his ophthalmologist son from Bowling Green Kentucky draw hundreds of cheering passionate supporters in Louisville.
It's possible when Congressman Ron Paul is the dad whose libertarian minded challenge of US monetary and foreign policy won him a cult following during a presidential run in 2008. And he says the timing is right for son Rand Paul to reach even higher.
“But all of a sudden the last couple of years, that events have changed, and that's why he has a tremendous opportunity. The people have a tremendous opportunity to look at these issues,” said U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.
But his son, Dr. Rand Paul said, “Have a great deal of respect and owe him so much but I can't win it just on his coattails. I have to do it on my own.”
Rand Paul told WHAS11 that an internal poll shows him up 10 points over Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the republican primary which surprises him at this stage in the game. And establishment republicans are stunned; the same establishment Ron Paul says has not been faithful to conservatives.
Paul said, “And that's what the American people are after now. They want people to go into office, say what they believe in and expect them to do it.”
Several months ago, Rand Paul made waves when he refused to commit to Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell as republican leader in the Senate. What do the Pauls think now?
Rand Paul said, “I think in some ways he's been very good at being a minority leader. In some ways we've been very good at opposing Obamacare, now maybe we have a chance at stopping that.”
While father Ron Paul said, “Well first thing I’ve never met him. And I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other.”
The Paul's foreign policy views have raised eyebrows. Ron Paul said that US policies provided terrorists a motive to attack on 9-11.
Ron Paul said, “I think that is important and nobody wants to talk about the motive, but it's out there, it's laid on a platter. You know, bin Laden writes, he wrote of it all the time, and he has a very strong motive. And as bad a guy as he is, he's not known to be a liar.”
“I think there's a danger sometimes, and people misinterpret my father, I think is that, they think somehow it is blaming America and it's not,” added Rand. “The questions we have are, are we everywhere all the time to everyone? Or are we nowhere and always here at home? And maybe we've gone too far in one extreme that we are everywhere all the time.”
To that end Rand Paul says the US needs to reevaluate its commitments in the middle east including to Israel.
“So we may not be helping Israel by funding both sides of the arms race. We fund Israel’s side, but we also fund all of the Islamic allies, people who are somewhat opposed to Israel, we give them money too. We give everybody money and that, I think is the problem.”
And a hot button on the campaign trail is the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, where despite earlier statements from Rand Paul that Gitmo detainees should be dropped off in Afghanistan, he insists that, unlike his father, he thinks the prison camp should stay open for now.
Rand said, “I don't think we should close down Gitmo until we decide what to do with the prisoners. I think there is a form of due process thru the military trials.”
As Republicans in Kentucky choose a Senate candidate, the party itself is in flux. The Tea Party movement started by Ron Paul two years ago is a big factor.
He said, “So I think we have an interesting time but I think all of us whether you've been in the Republican party a short time or a long time, you're participating in defining that particular party.
The first of the wave that began, it is a big movement, and I’ve met with a lot of the Tea Party folks in Kentucky and we think we'll get a lot of them to support us.”