GOP candidate Rand Paul drums up support in Alaska

Official portrait of United States Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). Photo:  Office of United States Senator Rand Paul
Official portrait of United States Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). Photo: Office of United States Senator Rand Paul

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul spoke in Anchorage and Fairbanks on Tuesday, kicking off a swing through western states for the Kentucky conservative. Paul received an enthusiastic reception.

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The ballroom of the Westmark hotel was packed to hear what Rand Paul had to say. The senator from Kentucky is one of almost a score of Republicans vying to be their party’s contender for the presidency. Paul sounded traditional conservative themes of smaller government and tax cuts. But he tried to set himself apart from fellow Republicans when it came to government waste. He told the audience, he would hold the Pentagon accountable just as much as civilian bureaucrats.

“Can you have $500 hammers and $600 wrenches and say, ‘we’ve got plenty of money?’… I’m all for auditing the Fed and the Pentagon.”

Rand Paul also tried to distance himself from his competition in his resistance to foreign wars, particularly in the Middle East, and his objections to the National Security Agency’s combing through private cell phone and internet traffic.

Paul drew perhaps the loudest round of applause Tuesday in Fairbanks when he vowed to shut down all Federal funding to Planned Parenthood.

“And if you disagree and you say, ‘what about women’s health?’ There are 9,000 community health centers. There are community health centers that have doubled and tripled in size.  And they’re available across America, and they do not do what Planned Parenthood does.”

Rand Paul’s stump speeches in Fairbanks and Anchorage follows a trail his father Ron Paul, blazed four years ago in his own search for the White House. How effective the younger Paul’s message is with the party base and independent voters won’t be known until early state nominations in Iowa and New Hampshire play out.