Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul talks about key U.S. issues, political future


Paul, has called President Bill Clinton a "sexual predator" and an "unsavory character" in previous interviews. He said that it's hypocritical of Democrats to accuse Republicans of being insensitive to women's rights when a leading fundraiser for the party and its candidates preyed on a 20-year-old woman. The reference was to the former President's acknowledged sexual indiscretion with then 22-year-old intern Monica Lewinsky in 1998.

"I just don't think it's acceptable," he said, "and frankly I think they lose any kind of moral ground they think they have to beat up Republicans."

He said, however, when asked if Bill Clinton's behavior should preclude Hillary Clinton from running for president in 2016, that the two are separate issues.

Paul is in Houston to speak at the Harris County Republican Party's annual Lincoln-Reagan fundraiser.

When asked if New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie should remain the chair of the Republican Governor's Association in light of the so-called Bridgegate scandal, Paul said it's not for him to judge.

But he did say, "It's important that people think that their government not be used to bully them. So for example, one of the things that conservatives have been upset with President Obama is that it looked like he was using the IRS to target taxpayer groups. Nobody wants to think their government would shut down a bridge or do something just because you're a Democrat and I'm a Republican. It's an unsettling charge. I don't know if it's true, but it's unsettling."

As for his own 2016 aspirations, Paul said he is as of yet undecided. He said whether or not Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Tea Party favorite, chooses to run or not will not affect his decision.

As for issues in Washington, Paul, who's in his first term as Kentucky's junior Senator, says debt is the biggest problem. He says managing that debt while creating jobs should be the top priority. The unemployment rate dropped to 6.6 percent last month, its lowest level in more than five years; but Paul says it's still too high with too many Americans either unemployed or underemployed.

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