Author Topic: Rand Paul, Republican presidential hopeful, finds support in Berkeley, of all places  (Read 230 times)

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http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_25378185/republican-presidential-hopeful-rand-paul-finds-plenty-support

Rand Paul, Republican presidential hopeful, finds support in Berkeley, of all places


BERKELEY -- Nobody should be surprised that Rand Paul got so warm a welcome Wednesday, even in a city whose name is often preceded in conversation by "The People's Republic of..."

After all, the junior U.S. Senator from Kentucky and likely contender for 2016's Republican presidential nomination is following in his father's footsteps by drawing crowds of enthusiastic young followers, particularly on college campuses, wherever he goes.

And his policies -- particularly criticizing government surveillance programs, avoiding military actions that aren't vital to national security, and rethinking the war on drugs -- draw voters from across the spectrum, including some of Berkeley's famed lefties.

"He's a serious contender," said Bruce Cain, a political expert who directs Stanford University's Bill Lane Center for the American West. "He can come to the Bay Area and plausibly look for money, which is not the case with Sarah Palin or some of the other people on the right."

The younger Paul has found that money at a series of local fundraisers Tuesday and Wednesday, and tapped his young activist base with a speech Wednesday afternoon at UC-Berkeley's International House.

In a speech peppered with references to Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" and Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," Paul told a crowd of about 400 that he will call for creation of a bipartisan committee to probe and reform the intelligence community. Much like the post-Watergate Church Committee of the 1970s, "It should watch the watchers."

"Your rights, especially your right to privacy, are under assault," he said, noting the National Security Agency has said its surveillance programs treat lawmakers like any other Americans.

"Your rights, especially your right to privacy, are under assault," he said, noting the National Security Agency has said its surveillance programs treat lawmakers like any other Americans.

"Digest exactly what that means. If Congress is spied upon without their permission, who exactly is in charge of the government?"

Just as Edward Snowden broke the law by leaking information about these programs, so too did Director of National Intelligence James Clapper break the law by lying to Congress, Paul said. The nation is under watch by "an intelligence community that's drunk with power, unrepentant and unwilling to relinquish power," he said. "The sheer arrogance of this: They're only sorry that they got caught. Without the Snowden leaks, these spies would still be doing whatever they please."

Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich watched from the back of the room.

"There are not too many people who can get a standing ovation at CPAC and a standing ovation at Berkeley," said Reich, now a UC-Berkeley professor.

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