Senator Rand Paul appeared on Fox News' Hannity last night, "happy to announce" he was supporting Mitt Romney for president "now that the nominating process is over."
Ron Paul's campaign has all but acknowledged Ron Paul's not winning the nomination, but the elder Paul has never endorsed the Republican nominee. Though he said he stood with Reagan, that was in 1976 when the California governor challenged sitting President Gerald Ford for the nomination. Paul spokesman Gary Howard said he didn't think Paul endorsed anyone in 1980, and by 1988 Ron Paul was so disappointed with Ronald Reagan he wanted to "totally disassociate" himself from the president. Paul didn't endorse George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George Bush or John McCain either.
But Rand Paul is not his father. From Hannity:
Governor Romney and I actually have quite a few similarities. Governor Romney's dad ran for president, was unsuccessful, Governor Romney then went on to support the nominee [Nixon] the same way his dad did. Governor Romney comes from a big family, I don't know them that well but I think it's a big loving family, so do I, I come from a family with five kids, Governor Romney has five kids. He's had a long and happy marriage, so have my parents. I think we have a lot of the same family values.
Paul said he met with Romney for about half an hour in DC and that they "talked about a lot of issues." He listed three issues on which there was "kinship": he said Romney was supportive on the campaign trail, and privately to Rand, about auditing the Federal Reserve and bringing more transparency to the central bank. He said Romney opposed SOPA and was "right there with us" on issues of internet freedom. Rand also pointed out Romney supports the Senator's REINS Act, which tries to bring some regulatory rulemaking authority back to Congress.
Asked by Hannity if America can "afford" four more years of President Obama, Rand tried to draw out some more differences between Romney and Obama: "[Romney] would bring a more balanced approach to regulation," Rand said. "We're going to have some regulation, some regulation actually protects the environment, but President Obama 's allowed it to tilt and the balance to go so far he's crushing the economy." Rand continued on the energy front: "[H]e will encourage the oil and gas industry and won't say, oh this is terrible that corporations make money. That's the kind of attitude that's making companies want to go overseas."
While Rand Paul said he could "be an asset in solidifying the conservative base of the party" he acknowledged that his and his father's support came not only from conservatives but from young independent voters that "aren't necessarily the conservative base" and are animated by issues of war and peace. Ron Paul's stance on U.S. foreign policy stood in stark contrast to the rest of the GOP field in 2012 and 2008, even though Ron Paul said his foreign policy's not much different from what George W. Bush's was in 2000. To that, Rand ended the interview with this comment:
[Romney and I] had a very good and I think honest discussion about a lot of these [foreign policy] things; and I came away from it feeling he would be a very responsible commander-in-chief, I don't think he'll be reckless, I don't think he'll be rash, and I think that he realizes and believes as I do that war is a last resort and something we don't rush willy-nilly into, and I came away feeling that he'll have mature attitude and beliefs towards foreign policy.
Reason.TV interviews Rand Paul last year: