Fox News
March 18, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul talks CPAC straw poll victory, looks ahead to 2016

Guests: Sen. Rand Paul

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 18, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And tonight on this jam-packed edition of "Hannity." You'll going to hear from three of the rising stars of the conservative movement, Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Plus, Dr. Benjamin Carson will stop by just days after he turns head at CPAC, by hinting at a possible run for the White House, I'll ask him about that and much more.

But first, speaking of CPAC, the results of the conservative political action conferences 2013 straw poll is in and with 25 percent of the vote, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul was victorious. Now, attendees were likely not only impressed by his remarks on Friday, but also by his impressive filibuster performance earlier this month. Now, Florida Senator Marco Rubio came in a close second. He got 23 percent. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, he rounded out the top three. He had eight percent. Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, he had seven percent and former vice-president nominee and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, he had six percent. And here with the reaction to Saturday's straw poll and the results and much more, the man who came out on top, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Senator, how are you?

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-KY.: Very good, good to be with you, Sean.

HANNITY: Does that mean you're running?

PAUL: Well, I can tell it you it was invigorating, I mean, it was exciting that probably there's 2,000 young kids in the audience and standing and chanting and if you want to find some energy for the conservative movement, you see it there. At CPAC, you know, it's one of the biggest convocations of young people that you'll see all year long.

HANNITY: You took a different tact than some of the other speakers and I actually found myself in agreement with you, and that is the Republican Party needs to get tougher. I'll be honest, I disappointed this weekend when John Boehner said, he absolutely trusted Obama. I don't trust him. He has been duplicitous, he's been trying to ruin the Republican Party, get Boehner fired. Why would he say he trusts him?

PAUL: Well, you know, there's a lot of things that we believe in and we shouldn't give up on and actually some of the things I was talking about, I think, attracts people from both the left and right and that's supporting your right to trial by jury, your right to be innocent until proven guilty, these are such time-honored concepts that I think it allows the Republican Party to get bigger, but our young people want us to stand for something, they want us to really stand on principle and I think that's why the filibuster probably helped me to gain enough votes to win in the poll.

HANNITY: Do you identify yourself as more a libertarian conservative? People ask me, I'm a registered conservative in New York, I consider myself a Reagan conservative. How do you -- is libertarian fair or -- do you embrace it, what?

PAUL: It depends what people mean by it. I use the term constitutional conservative, but also used the term libertarian conservative. One reason why I think conservative has to be modified is that when we were in power as Republicans, we said, we were conservatives, but we doubled the debt also. We added new Medicare prescription drug programs, we added on new programs and new debt.

So, really the conservative term really, and maybe has to be specified more, either libertarian conservative or constitutional conservative. But I accept all of those terms if they mean they believe in limited government and more individual liberty.

HANNITY: Well, then that raises the question when you look at, say, Paul Ryan's budget versus the Democrats, they never get into balance. Paul Ryan saying that he can balance it in ten years and increase spending, growth, 3.4 percent a year. Is that conservative enough for you?

PAUL: Well, we're tugging him in the right direction. Last year, you know, my budget balanced in five years. Mike Lee had a budget that balanced in five years and Paul Ryan's budget was 28 years to get to balance. This year it's in ten, so I think he's coming in the right direction. Now, he does things a little bit different and I'm not saying I'm that critical. He tries to bend the curve of spending to slow down the rate of growth.

What I do is say certain things shouldn't be done in Washington. Department of Education, I'd send it back to the states. That's what Reagan said, that's what the Republican Party said. I'm one of the few who would dismantle some of the big bad things in Washington and just say, that should remain with the states and the people. That's the only way you'll ever shrink the size of government, eliminating some departments.

HANNITY: Yes, I agree with that, I think the states would do a better job. I mean, they would be serving the needs of the people in their community which makes a lot of sense. I was really in agreement with you over you tried to get your fellow senators and I was disappointed in some republican senators, to defund or at least put on hold the money that we're giving to the 9/11 truther and the guy, the former terrorist that refers to the Israelis as descendents of apes and pigs, Mohammed Morsi. Why are we giving this guy F-16s? Why are we giving them tanks? Why are we giving them $1.5 billion a year?

PAUL: It's beyond me and you know, we've closed down White House tours, but President Obama somehow found 250 million extra to give to the radical Islamic government of Egypt. Didn't makes no sense at all. And I'm trying to get another amendment right now, I have an amendment that would cut off aid to Egypt unless President Morsi publicly reaffirms the Camp David accord, publicly recognizes Israel and says that he recognizes the peace treaty or they get no money because I don't think he'll publicly say it. I think he's catering to this radical Islamic mob and I don't think -- I'm afraid he will not uphold the treaty and he ought to publicly say, we'll do so, before he gets any more money.

HANNITY: All right. Tomorrow, you'll be speaking to the Hispanic chamber in Washington and you will unveiling what you call trust and verify which is your immigration plan. How is it different than say, what Marco Rubio is proposing in his plan or the president?

PAUL: Well, what we're trying to do is add teeth to that bipartisan plan. We want to make sure that border security is it in there. As conservatives, we've always worried that, well, you're going to give him legal status and say, we give border security later, well, it never comes. Like so many liberal promises. So what we're asking for is every year we get to vote on whether the border is becoming more secure and all of immigration reform is dependent on those votes, but Congress gets to vote, not the administration report. Congress gets to vote on whether or not the border is secure.

HANNITY: All right, I support that as well because if we don't secure the border, first of all, the number one threat of the border that we have those terrorists that can cross over, number one, number two, the problem never goes away. Ever.

PAUL: Right.

HANNITY: And we'll be arguing this every five, 10 years about new amnesty, new, you know, it's just got to end and so, I would support the reforms if we trust and verify. So, I think it's a good provision. Has Senator Rubio supported that?

PAUL: You know, we haven't had any personal discussion, but our staffs are talking and I think a lot of conservative Republicans will support this. In fact, I think without my amendment, they won't get conservative republican support and this has to pass to the house, also. So, I think really my concept for making sure that you have border security is the only way you're going to get significant republican support for this.

HANNITY: Yes. I think a lot of conservatives like myself want that first, they would accept the other part of it second because it would end the problem hopefully permanently. All right. We see what is happening, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, now Cyprus, they're literally going to confiscate, legally steal people's savings, and some cases, up to 10 percent, maybe even as high as 12-and-a-half percent.

The banks are shut down at least until Thursday, we'll see if they open on Thursday. The President says, we don't have an immediate debt crisis, John Boehner and Paul Ryan confirm that, I find myself in disagreement. I think it's immediate, a clear and present danger.

PAUL: Well, here is the thing about the president and his word "immediate." You know, he says you have to be an imminent threat before they drone you, but that doesn't have to be an immediate threat. So he has a little bit of nuance between the words imminent and immediate with regard to drones. I think with regard to debt crisis, he's just flat-out wrong. We do have an immediate problem, it's gathering storm, it's going to be enormous, and if we don't start working on it now, it's going to get so big we won't be able to stop it.

HANNITY: We could become Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy because they're all suffering and because of too much spending, too much debt, deficit is too high.

All right, Senator, congrats on your big win. And I know when you announce if you're running for president you'll do it here? You want to make that promise?

PAUL: Oh, yes, absolutely, we didn't already announce it, did we? Oh, that's right, we didn't say anything about that.

HANNITY: All right. I'm just checking. All right. Thank you, Senator.

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