Rand Paul

Rand Paul Blasts Chris Christie's "Learning Problem"

The Kentucky senator says his GOP rival fails to understand, "You can use the Fourth Amendment and still get terrorists."


Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) took aim at one of his most vocal critics and a rival for the

Whuevah, Chris.
Fox News

 GOP presidential nomination, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, at Yahoo's Digital Democracy conference on Thursday. 

In an interview with Yahoo News' Oliver Knox, Paul blamed Christie's frequent misrepresentations of the senator's views on national security and government surveillance on a "learning problem."

Yahoo News' Hunter Walker quotes Paul as saying:

"Some will respond and say, 'Well what about terrorists? Does that mean you don't care about terrorists?' And I tried to explain this to the governor from New Jersey on the stage, but I think I'm having a little bit of a learning problem — learning curve," Paul said. "You can use the Fourth Amendment and still get terrorists."

Walker adds:

Paul also said he opposed the FBI's push to ban phone and email encryption and "without question" would allow Americans to obtain technology to protect their communications if he is elected president. He argued it is hard for people to trust that the government won't monitor them without obtaining proper warrants. Paul also suggested that creating a technological "backdoor" to facilitate government surveillance programs would make Americans' Internet activity vulnerable to our "enemies."

"The head of the FBI came out with this recently, he says, 'Oh, we're going to ban encryption.' And it's like we want to build a backdoor into Facebook and a backdoor into Apple products," Paul said. "A backdoor means that the government can look at your stuff, look at your information, your conversations. … The problem is, is that the moment you build an opening — and I'm not an expert on coding or anything, but the moment you give a vulnerability to a code that someone can get into your source code, not only can the government, but so can your enemies, so can foreign governments."

Paul's statements to Knox recall his dust-up with Christie over the Fourth Amendment and warrantless surveillance at the August 6th Republican presidential debate, where Christie fired an indirect shot at Paul, telling moderator Megyn Kelly, "I will make no apologies, ever, for protecting the lives and safety of the American people. We have to give more tools to our folks to be able to do that, not fewer, and then trust those people and oversee them to do it the right way."

To which Paul replied:

RAND PAUL: I want to collect more records from terrorists but less records from innocent Americans. The Fourth Amendment was what we fought the revolution over. John Adams said it was a spark that led to our war for independence. And I'm proud of standing for the Bill of Rights and I will continue to stand for the Bill of Rights. 

CHRIS CHRISTIE: Megyn, that's a completely ridiculous answer. I want to collect more records from terrorists but less records from other people. How are you supposed to know, Megyn?

RAND PAUL: You get a warrant. Get a judge to sign a warrant. 

CHRISTIE: When you're sitting in a subcommittee blowing hot air about that you can say things like that. When you're responsible for protecting the lives of the American people, then you need to make sure that you use — 

RAND PAUL: Here's the problem, governor. You fundamentally misunderstood the Bill of Rights. I'm talking about searches without warrants.

In 2013, following the narrow defeat of a Justin Amash-sponsored amendment to a House defense appropriations bill that would have defunded the NSA's bulk collection of phone records, Christie lamented, "This strain of libertarianism that's going through both parties right now … I think is a very dangerous thought." 

Writing at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf takes issue with Christie's deterministic view that only allowing law enforcement to go to the dark side can ensure the safety of American citizens: 

In fact, the phone dragnet has never stopped a single terrorist attack, during Chris Christie's tenure as a U.S. attorney or at any other time.

For that reason, advocates of the phone dragnet wouldn't be apologizing for protecting our lives and safety––they would be apologizing for abrogating our civil liberties with a surveillance program that didn't even make us any safer in the bargain.

More generally, the torture of prisoners, the invasion of Iraq, the worst abuses of J. Edgar Hoover, and all the illegal behavior uncovered by the Church Committee were carried out by a lot of people who had the intent of protecting the lives of Americans. That intent does not excuse imprudent or unlawful acts––and as a federal court has ruled, the provision of the Patriot Act that the NSA and the Obama Administration have used to justify the phone dragnet does not, in fact, even authorize it.

The "strain of libertarianism" which Christie calls "dangerous" is in fact a healthy skepiticism of the awesome and often unaccountable powers wielded by the federal government, which Paul also articulated at the Yahoo conference

Paul argued that people have no reason to believe the government isn't monitoring their private communications because Director of National Intelligence James Clapper "lied" to Congress about surveillance.

"There is a huge trust gap. The head of our intelligence — the intelligence director James Clapper — came to the Senate, and when he was asked, "Are you collecting all of Americans' phone records?," he said no. He lied to us," Paul said, adding, "That's perjury. You can actually go to jail for what he did. He should have at the very least been fired, and he's still in that position."

In his March 2013 testimony before Congress, Clapper incorrectly said the government doesn't collect any type of data on millions of Americans. A few months later, former government contractor Edward Snowden leaked files that revealed that the National Security Agency had a bulk data collection program.

This past June, Paul spoke with Reason magazine Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch for a Reason TV interview that dealt touching on his opposition the Patriot Act, the military hawks of his own party, and his thoughts on Edward Snowden. Watch below:

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  1. That’s right, Rand. Take the gloves off. Let the hate flow through you . . . .

    1. This. He really doesn’t have much to lose, and you see how much people seem to like Trump’s “candidness,” so why the hell not call these fucker out? Especially that fat prick Christie.

    2. It was good to see him back from his venture into neo con-ism. In the last debate he was bold, articulate, and showed that he understood the constitution better than the other idiots on state, esp rubio. He needs to go all out unapologetically libertarian on the rest of these pro gov’t morons. He resonates with a lot of people, those disgusted with the status quo. People want to see more in our politicians what trump is doing, though a lot of what trump said is idiotic, people are tired of hearing politicians apologize for what they believe. People are tired of politicians manipulate what they say they believe in order not to have the press come out against them. The press cannot manipulate trump, the establishment doesn’t know how to corral him. Paul needs that kind of boldness, even if it means calling an idiot an idiot. He has the right message, he’s the only one who does.

  2. Libertarianism is indeed dangerous, but only to those who want power without accountability.

    1. Well, TBF, what’s the point in having power if you have to be accountable.

      1. “I *said*, ‘I take full responsibility.’ What more do you want?”

        1. That’s like a double entry ledger, it’s so accountable.

        2. The one instance of that that pisses me off the most was Janet Reno after Waco.

  3. It saddens me that simply pointing out that what Christie wants is unconstitutional and thus no more of an option than Hillary’s Aussie style gun ban isn’t a valid argument.

    Meanwhile, our brave judges waited 13-14 years to rule bulk data collection unconstitutional. Right around the time where the government was getting ready or after it had passed a measure that will now probably take another decade and a half to prove illegitimate in the courts.

    1. But it needs to be pointed out, because it’s true. Paul’s response to christie and rubio was spot on. It needs to be pointed out that christie and rubio approach to nasa spying on US citizens and foreign interventionism is the same tack that obama does, use the constitution when it benefits him and ignores it when it doesn’t. I would have said christie’s response, then later rubies, shows they have the same view of the constitution liberal democrats have, that they do’t really like the restrictions on gov’t the constitution demands. That they believe the constitution restricts the people other than it being the other way around.

  4. Roughly 10 weeks to the Iowa Caucuses. Rand needs to go full throttle if he wants to place in top three like Ron did last go round.

    1. I am still voting for him, once the IL primary comes around.

      1. The old adage is “There are three tickets out of Iowa”.

        If he doesn’t finish in the top three in Iowa, he’ll have to win New Hampshire.

        Otherwise, he won’t be in the race after the first two contests.

      2. I’m also a resident of IL Likewise.

        1. IIRC you are in my old hometown. May God Have Mercy Upon Your Soul.

          “Illinois has recently changed State Motto – no longer is it ‘Land of Lincoln’…it is now ‘Will the Defendant Please Rise'”

  5. Chris Christie is little more than a dictator in training. He has told the American people over and over that as President he will shove his beliefs down their throats be damned what the majority want. First Christie needs to read the Constitution. Then if he has any reading comprehension at all he may understand that the vast majority of federal laws and departments are illegal. I still believe lawyers who made A’s become Corporate lawyers those with B’s become ambulance chasers and the rest become politicians.

    1. On the bright side, he’s not going to be president.

      On the down side, he probably lost more support by hugging the president than by decrying the Bill of Rights.

      1. Let’s also hope no one wants to put him on the ticket as VP.

        1. …Or a nice cushy cabinet post. “Attorney General Christie.” How’s that for nightmare fuel?

          1. That’s even worst. AG. He’d make J. Edgar look like a libertarian. He’d have to have Hoover’s dresses taken out a bunch to fit in them.

  6. “Conservatives” in the past used to say “better dead than red”. They cared more about their country and liberty than their own lives. Too bad Christie and the rest of the overaged toddlers (of both parties) in this country are so willing to give up their rights so quickly. Rand seems far more “conservative” on this one!

    1. They cared more about their country and liberty than their own lives.

      You mean like when Buckley called to militarize the U.S. and accept central economic planning because “oh noes! communizm!”?

      Or have you come to us from some parallel universe where your statement is actually true?

      1. Not Buckley, a conservative:

        “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” ?Barry Goldwater

  7. Christie also seems to have an eating problem.

    I’m just sayin’.

    Is the man immune to gastroplasty?

    It’s a surgery. I didn’t think that was possible.

    1. He has no eating problem, he eats, he gets fat, he eats some more, no problem.

      1. He’s going to burst the band on his stomach!

        It’s a psychological problem when they have surgically made your stomach so small that you can’t eat as much–and you just keep eating the same old amount anyway.

  8. Paul needs to call christie what his is a socialist with a capitalist veneer, a fascist. The old soviet union used gov’t to squash distant, n. korea uses gov’t to intimidate it’s people, christie used gov’t to squash distant and intimidate his because a mayor had the audacity to endorse someone other than him. Is that what we want in a president, one who will used gov’t to retaliate against those who will not support him? Funny, we already have such a president. Christie, as well as rubio, has already implied that the constitution will not get in his way.

  9. HEADLINE: Rand Paul Blasts Chris Christie’s “Learning Problem”

    ACTUAL STATEMENT to Yahoo News’ Hunter Walker: “but I think I’m having a little bit of a learning problem ? learning curve,” Paul said.

    “I think I’m having”? that doesn’t imply Rand blasted ANYTHING about Christie, much less attributed a “Learning Problem” to him. Sheesh, you’d think Reason would be a bit more sensitive to making hay about learning disabilities, one, and libertarian-leaning candidates, two.

    Paul CLEARLY was saying that HE, HIMSELF, was not very successful in getting Christie to understand his position; it was PAUL self-deprecatingly “admitting” to his OWN learning curve wrt debating tactics in getting Christie to see the error of his anti-4A position. Otherwise, I’m certain Mr. Paul, an educated man, surely would have availed himself the use of “I think HE’S having?”

  10. The failure of Republican voters to support Rand Paul is disheartening, but I’m very glad he’s in the Senate.

  11. Rand should just remind Christie that the founders were born into a nation that had already faced the prospect of theocratic terrorists trying to blow up the government, 171 years before the Declaration of Inependence. Despite that they established the fourth amendment, so what’s his excuse other than being a big pussy?

    1. He did in not so many words. Christie is power hungry no damn paper ratified over 200 years ago will get in his way.

  12. “not only can the government, but so can your enemies, so can foreign governments.”

    You’re speaking as if the first exists in a separate set from the second and the third.

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