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RAND PAUL IS RUNNING, CAN HE WIN IT?

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Rand Paul is going to unveil his presidential campaign this coming Tuesday. You can expect the unexpected.

When the presidential buzz began building around Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) a couple of years ago, the expectation was that his libertarian ideas could make him the most unusual and intriguing voice among the major contenders in the 2016 field.

But now, as he prepares to make his formal announcement Tuesday, Paul is a candidate who has turned fuzzy, having trimmed his positions and rhetoric so much that it’s unclear what kind of Republican he will present himself as when he takes the stage.

“He’s going to get his moment in the sun,” said David Adams, who served as campaign chairman for Paul’s insurgent 2010 Senate campaign. “What he does with it from there will have bearing on the Republican Party.”

There are at least two areas where Paul has moved more in line with the conservative Republican base, somewhat to the consternation of the purists in the libertarian movement: adopting a more muscular posture on defense and foreign policy, and courting the religious right.

Where he once pledged to sharply cut the Pentagon’s budget, for instance, Paul late last month proposed a $190 billion increase over the next two years — albeit one that would be paid for by cutting foreign aid and other government programs. His tour following the announcement of his candidacy will include an event at Patriots Point in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor, with the World War II-era aircraft carrier USS Yorktown as a backdrop.


Political Ears reporter John Knox has more in this video segment:



What Paul says Tuesday and in several stops in the following days will be closely watched by a handful of disparate constituencies into which he has tried to make inroads over the past year, including Silicon Valley executives drawn to his libertarian ways and more traditional Republican business leaders who are wary of them. Attracted to his promise of expanding the GOP electorate, they have met with Paul, but many remain unsure of his electability, as well as his views.

“He’s still the same guy. It’s only how he’s viewed that has changed,” Adams said. “He’s gone from somebody viewed as an oddity to somebody who’s interesting. And on the issues, he has answered the same questions over and over, that he hasn’t so much changed but shown a more three-dimensional side of where he’s coming from.”

Paul also has been trying to find common cause with evangelical Christian voters, who have been skeptical of and even hostile toward the energized libertarian element of the GOP.

What are your thoughts on Paul's candidacy? Chime in below!

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