Politics

Paul: Deleting Me From Debate an ‘Outrage’

Refusing to join the undercard debate, Paul will stage his own telephone town hall

Sen. Rand Paul on Thursday defended his decision to skip the next Republican presidential debate, calling the decision to relegate him to the undercard “arbitrary and capricious.”

Paul noted on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll published Wednesday placed him ahead of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Kasich, all of whom will be on the main debate stage. He said all of them and himself, in fact, are within the margin of error and should be treated the same.

“It’s arbitrary and capricious to have an artificial designation that says, oh, someone who’s 5.8 in a poll is different than someone who’s 6.2,” he said. “It even goes above and beyond what pollsters will tell you … Absolutely, we think it’s unfair and an outrage what they did.”

Paul said said the party’s debate rules are “pushing some of their voters out” by excluding their favored candidates. He is banking that he can get more mileage out of publicity surrounding his decision to skip the debate and instead host his own national tele-town hall on his campaign website.

Paul said relying solely on polls ignores other measures of a candidate’s strength, such as campaign fundraising and volunteers. He noted that his campaign recently announced 1,000 precinct chairmen in Iowa.

“Polling should be one part of it,” he said. “But I don’t think we should be led by the nose so much by polling that we think the elections are over before they start.”

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“Polling should be one part of it,” he said. “But I don’t think we should be led by the nose so much by polling that we think the elections are over before they start.”

Paul used social media to deliver his own response to President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday. He blasted the president on Thursday for painting the economy in glowing terms because the unemployment rate has fallen to 5 percent.

“He didn’t mention that more people are out of work than they have at any time since Jimmy Carter,” he said. “They’re just no longer counting them as unemployed.”

The same goes for the declined budget deficit.

“He forgot to mention, though, that he added more debt than all the previous presidents,” he said.

Paul said admitting more Syrian refugees is “exactly the wrong thing to do.” He noted that he has called for a moratorium on the program. He said the United States needs a thorough review of the the entire immigration system.

For instance, he said, some 40 percent of the people illegally in the United States entered legally on visas and remained after they expired. He noted that about 140,000 students from Middle Eastern countries come to the United States every year.

“If 40 percent of them are overstaying their visas, that’s a particular problem,” he said. “The 9/11 hijackers all used our legal immigration system to get here.”

Paul also took on the “neocons” of his party who counsel intervention in the Syrian civil war. Such a move would have unpredictable consequences, he warned.

“You may well have ISIS in charge of Syria, and is that really better than (President Barshar al) Assad?” he said.

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