Rand Paul

Here's What Rand Paul Is Saying About Leaving the Presidential Race

Paul promises to continue working on signature issues.


Rand Paul announced today that he's suspending this campaign for the presidency. And in a just-released video statement, he issued his thanks to supporters and said farewell to his campaign, while declaring his intention to continue focusing on signature issues like criminal justice reform, privacy, and size of government.

Among other things, Paul promised that he would "continue to be a voice against the out of control regulation, spending and debt that is crippling our country's economy and the future of our children," and that he would "not ignore the terrible cost of decades of war and chaos in the Middle East, and the unintended consequences of regime change and nation building." 

Rand Paul was once considered a promising contender for the GOP presidential nomination. A year ago, headlines suggested that he might even be the frontrunner. But Paul's campaign has fallen short of those hopes, and after finishing a disappointing fifth place in the Iowa caucus this week, Paul announced that he would cease campaigning. 

Here's a video of the complete statement. Read the full transcript after the jump. 


"It has been an honor to participate in the 2016 Republican Presidential Primary. 

"I am proud of our principled campaign and the thousands of young people that have been energized by our message of limited constitutional government.  

"Ours has been a unique voice in this race—one that says Big Government threatens Americans from all walks of life, rich and poor, black and white—from the coal miner who has lost his job over President Obama's destructive EPA regulations…  to the teenager from a poor family facing jail time for marijuana.   I will continue to fight for criminal justice reform, for privacy, and your 4th amendment rights.  I will continue to champion due process over indefinite detention. 

"I will continue to be a voice against the out of control regulation, spending and debt that is crippling our country's economy and the future of our children.   I will not ignore the terrible cost of decades of war and chaos in the Middle East, and the unintended consequences of regime change and nation building.  I will never forget the thousands of American soldiers who have given their lives—and the thousands more who live everyday with catastrophic injuries.    

"These are the issues that have defined my campaign.  Kelley and I are deeply grateful to our outstanding staff and tireless volunteers and supporters—people who believe in liberty.  It has been a privilege to give voice to the liberty movement in this race and I believe we have broadened the debate by being part of it.  Although today I will suspend my campaign for the Presidency, I will continue to fight on for liberty, for the Constitution, and for justice in the United States Senate.   Thank you, and God Bless America." 

NEXT: Donald Trump's Post-Iowa Twitter Meltdown

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  1. At least he quit before the GOP tried to run him out of his Senate seat.

    1. Who says they won’t try anyway?

      1. They might. Can’t have members who make them look bad.

        1. He’s still there, as are Cruz and Lee. And Amash (in spite of the establishment’s best efforts last time ’round)

          1. Why would you lump Cruz with Paul and Amash?

            1. They don’t agree on everything but the establishment truly hates Cruz.


            2. While he probably doesn’t have it emblazoned on the superhero tights he wears under his suit he at least uses the ‘L’ word (or the other ‘L’ word, I guess) without apparent/outright disdain.

            3. I absolutely would not lump Cruz and Amash together. Amash is a real libertarian, Cruz isn’t even a good fake one.

              1. There is absolutely nothing libertarian about Cruz.

                1. Except for his previous work in trying to stop Obamacare, work in limiting surveillance, stance against EtOH subsidies, previous criminal justice reform work, etc

                  Oh wait I get it you and Hyperion are jerking off each other’s purity boners. Well don’t let the facts get in your way gentlemen.

                  1. Cyto,
                    Go fk Bryan Murray’s empty brain pan, you obnoxious hoser.

                2. Ted Cruz supported Rand Paul as he fought the statists to preserve our freedoms. Ted is who claims to be. That is why Washington DC statists hate him and real Americans in Iowa love him.

                3. “There is absolutely nothing libertarian about Cruz.”

                  The question was about the GOP’s approach to ” members who make them look bad.”

                  But you knew that all along, didn’t you?

                  Honest argument is not your strong suit is it?

            4. Cruz is associated with the Tea Party and shares in common with Paul and Amash a tendency towards devolving federal power to the states, shrinking domestic government, stuff like that. He’s not a libertarian per se, but neither is Paul depending on how rigid you want to be. He is, however, a hell of a lot closer than most of the rest of his party.

              To ride off mad.casual’s comment, he might not get the newsletter, but he doesn’t seem to believe that libertarians are all pot smoking terrorist sympathizers who should be locked away, and that puts him in fairly exclusive company in the Republican party.

              1. I’d agree with this. Cruz isn’t a libertarian in any sense, but he’s also not advocating big government conservatism either. He seems interested in a government that follows the laws as written (even his opposition to pot legalization falls into this realm) and a Congress that follows proper procedure in passing the laws. I may not agree and may even loathe some of his positions, but I respect the foundation about the rule of law and it’s better about the Republican establishment.

                I would rather have had Rand Paul be the nominee too, but let’s face it…either there’s no real market in the GOP for those viewpoints right now or Paul’s just an absymally bad salesman for them as a presidential candidate. Fact is that he was never going to be the nominee this year. Gary Johnson is the better libertarian candidate, but even he admits that his last presidential campaign was mostly a waste of time and he plans to take it less seriously this time around (since he’s running a business now).

                There’s nothing wrong with considering the least worst options when you don’t have good options, instead of just dropping out of the voting altogether. If the Dems nominate Hillary, I’ll definitely vote for Cruz or Rubio (and probably even Trump) if one of them wins the GOP nomination. If the Dems put up Sanders, I’ll still give Cruz some consideration if he wins, mainly because the GOP “leadership” hates him so much.

                1. There are few things more ephemeral than a libertarian litmus test.

                  Yet, unsurprisingly, there are few things more numerous.

                  Go figure.

        2. They’re there to serve us. Yes I’m one of those people that takes the Constitution very seriously. Politicians can do good things-if they are watched like a hawk that is. That is what the people have to become,watchful hawks.

      2. The GOP seems to support him in that position now that he has it, and he played nice to help McConnell hold the other senate seat. I doubt he’s in any danger from the GOP.

    2. I’ve heard it said, and I’m sure there’s some validity to this, that Rand would do more for liberty as a senator than he could as a president, but I’m still disappointed he dropped out. … Even though it’s probably the smart move, lest he lost his seat.

      1. I think there’s a fair argument to be made that libertarianism itself is not suited to the presidency. The POTUS is the closest thing we have to a king, and the overwhelming tendency has been for the position to be tailored towards granting the executive power to outmaneuver the legislature rather than acting as a check against bureaucracy. There haven’t been any Gary Johnsons at the federal executive level since Coolidge.

        1. And from most of the comments here, most libertarians prefer to vote for Trump – or anyone except for maybe Hillary – instead of Gary Johnson. Because golly, an irrelevant unnoticed vote for something non-libertarian is far more important than a relevant noticed vote for something libertarian. Or something.

          1. I’ll admit, there’s something appealing about the idea of voting for Trump in the hopes that a Trump presidency would be so terrifying that Americans as a culture would shun powerful executives for generations to come, sort of along the lines of God Emperor of Dune. But, that’s what I thought would happen with Obama, and look where we are.

          2. Trump favors eminent domain: http://thoughtsofamascman.blog…..inent.html

        2. Libertarianism is not suited to the sort of deep state executive regulatory branch we presently have.

          A presidency – as partner to a legislature that actually abides by the Constitution, and holds everyone it funds to those same standards – could easily and aptly accommodate a libertarian.

  2. Sorry to see this, but he’s probably got a better chance of advancing the cause of liberty as an strong, ongoing voice in the senate than a president getting swamped with crises of the moment.

    1. agree. we need him in the senate.

      1. Me three, though I would have liked to see how he did in New Hampshire.

        1. I wonder how the libertarians in New Hampshire are going to take this.

  3. Wish he would’ve held out for New Hampshire at least.

    1. I see little downside in him sticking around, and a lot of upside.

      I thought the last debate was his best. He was much more relaxed and forceful. Having him in the debates is good for the debates and any future presidential campaigns he might run. Maybe he’s just being frugal with the campaign funds.

      1. He was probably more relaxed because he realized that the odds were he was dropping out if he couldn’t crack the top three in voting (and probably realized just how slim the odds were). It’s easier to be relaxed when you know you won’t have to worry about what you say undermining your campaign.

        I just wish he’d said those things before instead of trying to build common ground with the “mainstream”. That just killed his credibility.

  4. Paul’s biggest mistake was attending the debate instead of filibustering the omnibus spending bill for real. He could have stolen headlines for a week or more and regained any lost ‘non-establishment’ cred he may have lost. The optics of being the lone Republican standing up to that bullshit, bucking party leadership – that would have been the sort of risk that could have revived his campaign. At that point, he needed something bold, and that was it. He would have surpassed Trump as the left’s number one enemy.

    Instead, he traded that opportunity for five minutes of airtime in a debate no one remembers.

    It was a squandered opportunity and his faux filibuster was just embarrassing.

    1. Wow, brilliant! That would have been impressive!

    2. It is a nice thought, but I doubt it. Trump has been sucking up all the air when it comes to being the non-establishment. If not him, Carson. There were too many side acts in this cycle for Rand to stand out. That’s why he was doing well before the race actually began.

      1. See, Paul played into Trumps hands by being at that debate. He painted himself as an ineffectual hack without principles. The media that bothered to cover his filibuster did it in a deservedly disdainful way.

        I’m not saying Paul would have won, but he would have stolen a media cycle at a key moment and breathed some life into his listless campaign. The media would have no had no choice but to cover him and his stunt. He could have delayed that bill for real. Instead he used allotted ‘filibuster’ time and spoke for 20 minutes. It was a yawn.

        That may have faded, but it was the spark he needed.

    3. Instead, he traded that opportunity for five minutes of airtime in a debate no one remembers.

      It was a squandered opportunity and his faux filibuster was just embarrassing.

      Similar occurred to me as well.

      Like I said, debating with Megyn Kelly is like debating with a loaded gun. I didn’t see the debate but I’m certain, at some point, a pointless question about a hypothetical non-issue was asked. It would’ve been a perfect(ly phenomenal) opportunity to flip some tables by either bowing out gracefully or even heading over to Trump’s event and (if only nominally) helping out the DAV.

    4. Really good point.

    5. The media would ignore his filibuster. They have in the past they’ll do it now.

  5. Yes, immigration, an issue with great salience for we in New Hampshire. So many platform planks, but you stayed loyal to the narrative. I appreciate you, Ted Cruz. Bless up.

    1. *moves comment one article down*

  6. Can anyone here offer an assessment of why Paul’s campaign failed so spectacularly? Aside from the onset of the Libertarian Moment, of course.

    Really though why’d his campaign never gain any traction?

    1. Trump stole Rand’s position as the antiestablishment candidate. That simple.

    2. His personality. I don’t think he suffers fools very well. His annoyance can come off as being impetuous. He was getting better I think. He wants to be president not campaign for it.

      1. Yup. He didn’t seem to appreciate that in order to get the job, you have to interview well for the job first. His campaign just seemed to lack motion or a sense of urgency from the beginning. Hard to get excited about a candidate when his attitude towards the election itself is basically “meh”.

    3. I think rand understood there a to be a larger libertarian contingent out there seeing how his dad got 20% in iowa. He wanted to expand on this and moderated to try to bring libertarianism mainstream.. unfortunately, that 20% that voted for his dad was Rothbard and Bastiat scholars. they were voted against establishment and instead of expanding his base by moderating, Rand lost what is Dad had. And why you would hear people talk here in Iowa how they support Ron and now Trump/Cruz. BIg point, he mistook his father’s support to be principled

      1. **WASN”T rothbard and bastiat scholars.

          1. ah fuck it. that whole thing made no since.. shouldn’t try to sneak a post in quickly at work..

            1. *sense. Christ.

              1. *sense. Christ.

                LMAO — at first I thought you were ironically misspelling sense on purpose.

    4. Also, I think most people react more to emotional rather than rational arguments. Which is unfortunate for us rational beings

      1. Make the rational emotional.

    5. Because libertarians found out he wasn’t a pure libertarian and burned him at the stake.

      At the same time “conservatives” found out he didn’t meet the current definition of a conservative an burned him at the stake.

      1. Probably right. Tried to fill a space that nobody (except me) was going to like. Maybe Libertarianish-Conservative is an impossible niche. Look at all the venom on this site directed at Cruz. He’s far from perfect but certainly the closest left in the race. Paul got much the same from places like NRO.

      2. That’s not really it. When Rand first started campaigning, before he even announced, he started turning his back on libertarians to chase socons. That was his main and fatal mistake. Hopefully he’s learned.

        1. Here we see a perfect example of what Online Me is talking about. “Wah he tried paying attention to other voters me not happy!”

        2. In what way? Given me an example of how he changed. He ran for Senator with Socon views and as a Republican.

          I listen to libertarians tell me he isn’t an authentic libertarian because he is pro-life. He truly is pro-life.

          I hear conservatives complain he endorsed McConnell over Bevin. It is because he is truly a Republican.

          He isn’t someone you can meld into what your views of a libertarian or a conservative is. He is what he is- you can take him over leave him but at least you can know what he stands for when you make your decision.

        3. Sounds more like the full Rand didn’t quite match up with your notions of the ideal Rand.

          Rand’s biggest problem was the drive-by soundbite nature of the “debates” a format he is simply not built for.

      3. Because Real Libertarians like Hyperion found out he wasn’t a pure libertarian and burned him at the stake.


        1. Scolding someone for chasing socons isn’t exactly the same as burning them at the stake.

          1. I was pretty sure he didn’t mean literally burning him at the stake.

            The man reached out to people who, some fraction of whom or at least nominally, want to cut taxes. Shame on him for committing such a shameful and ideologically impure move. Clearly, *that’s* what caused his downfall.

    6. Ron Paul’s ‘movement’ that Rand expected to inherit was a fraud. Those people didn’t care about freedom. Also, Rand’s first debate was pretty bad. Rand was also incoherent at other times. Most importantly, it just wasn’t his time.

    7. Well in Iowa I’m going to guess that any Paul campaign was doomed from the start. The Ron Paul folks took over the party there – but to do so they lied and destroyed both their credibility and anyone else’s trust in them. At the local level that stuff matters and people have long memories. Whatever Rand Paul was going to need to build, he had to build from scratch – and I don’t think he realized that.

      1. Wouldn’t surprise me…that was one lesson that Ron Paul never seemed able to learn. It matters that you associate yourself with people who can build and maintain goodwill with people. That was never a strength of Ron Paul’s following, which is why he never won an election above the House.

  7. You were the only good one, Rand. Still support you and hope to see you have another good term as Senator. Keep fighting the good fight. And please don’t endorse any of these fucksticks.


    1. Hopefully the precinct-level organizers who supported RP will now switch over to getting something going with the LP/Johnson. I understand why Rand himself will do the GOP thing. Self-interest compels it. But it is absolutely pointless for the grassroots to do so. The GOP offers nothing and will kick libertarian-leaners in the teeth like they always have.

      But the difference for an actual libertarian-leaning third party could be huge. Getting people who now understand precinct-level work involved – in February instead of never. That’s the difference between getting 1% in an election and getting 10%.

      1. The LP is for losers as much as ever. They should go for Cruz.

        1. The LP can actually be taken over easily since right now it is nothing but a few pot-smoking anarchos engaged in useless sophomoric bull sessions – and Prez candidates who think there’s more there until they realize there isn’t.

          But hey keep banging the diversion drum. Yeah Cruz that’s the ticket. The great man riding in on a white horse to bring liberty to all. And if/when he doesn’t get the nomination – then bang the ‘well golly vote for our SOB cuz the SOB on the other side is like almost you know who”.

          1. Cruz is the best bet. Third parties are for chumps. Sorry that’s the way it is. I don’t make reality the way it I just see it as it is.

            1. It depends what the goal is for a third party. If the goal is to upend the two practical election-oriented parties and to realign them along some issue, third parties are the ONLY way it happens. Election-oriented parties CAN’T do issues. The only thing they can ever care about is ‘what gets us to 50.0000001%’. Third parties force the realignment by making it impossible to get to that number without realigning.

              1. Just to give examples.

                The Whigs and Dems would have never mentioned slavery at all. That was forced on them by the Liberty Party and the Free Soil Party. The result was the Whigs died and Republicans created a different coalition and Dems split into two regional parties. Neither third party expected that realignment.

                The Progressive era system would not have realigned without Teddy Roosevelt going off on his own in 1912

                The New Deal coalition of the Dems (which made the US a one-party country for a few decades) was not broken by the Reps. It was broken by the Dixiecrats and George Wallace. Nor did either of those third parties expect the realignment that actually happened.

                1. JFree, good analysis. You managed to be realistic about third-parties in our two-party system while still giving cause for some optimism. Plus, I think you’re probably right.

          2. Hillary is the nominee for the dems. Nothing is going to change that. Debbie has her heart set on Hillary. Cruz looks good. He was able to unite the libertarians and evangelicals. That is a plus.

        2. People who cease to participate in the primaries once someone like Rand drops out are the true losers.

          There being no reason they cannot make their voices heard in both the primary, and by voting for Gary in the general.

  9. Well, it looks like the stupid party has failed to earn my vote, once again.

    1. Did you ever doubt their ability to do so?

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  11. I mean, who didn’t see this coming? At this point, being realistic, there isn’t going to be some sudden, widespread libertarian awakening where everyone votes for Gary Johnson or writes in Rand Paul on Election Day. The “libertarian moment” came and went and all we got was gay marriage (kinda, depending on where you live) and legal weed (in a few places, under strict rules). Whoop-dee-doo.

    It’ll come down to a Dem or a Rep. Right now, the Dems look like they’re going to give it to Hillary. That means it’ll either be Hillary or either Trump or Cruz. However you vote, or if you vote at all, I think it’s safe to say that, of those three choices, Cruz is the least bad option from a libertarian perspective. Am I wrong?

  12. I mean, who didn’t see this coming? At this point, being realistic, there isn’t going to be some sudden, widespread libertarian awakening where everyone votes for Gary Johnson or writes in Rand Paul on Election Day. The “libertarian moment” came and went and all we got was gay marriage (kinda, depending on where you live) and legal weed (in a few places, under strict rules). Whoop-dee-doo.

    It’ll come down to a Dem or a Rep. Right now, the Dems look like they’re going to give it to Hillary. That means it’ll either be Hillary or either Trump or Cruz. However you vote, or if you vote at all, I think it’s safe to say that, of those three choices, Cruz is the least bad option from a libertarian perspective. Am I wrong?

    1. Damn squirrels.

    2. I agree. Cruz is a better option than Hillary. Frankly, any of the GOP candidates are a better option than Hillary. They may all be statists, but she’s blindingly stupid as well…to a dangerous degree.

  13. Does this mean his name won’t be on my state’s Republican primary ballot? I’d still like to vote for him. If not, it doesn’t look like the Libertarian Party is going to be on my state’s ballot, either, so I won’t be able to vote for my choice in the general election. In short, I’ll be a disenfranchised voter once again, giving me little reason to vote.

    The joys of democracy, anybody? Where everyone isn’t represented by the candidate of their choice?

  14. OMG, does Rand’s withdrawal sound the death-knell for Libertarianism?

  15. Perhaps he left the race to avoid the possibility of his campaign having a spoiler effect and splitting the vote for smaller government? To give Cruz a better chance of defeating Trump and Rubio?

  16. Awww… That’s sad. Well, at least we still have Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio or Donald Trump or Jeb Bush. Don’t lose hope!

    1. Hey AmSoc, when you’re ready for Hillary, will you still feel the Bern?

  17. I liked Rand and am sorry to see him drop out, but no self respecting Libertarian could vote Republican, no matter how Libertarian he may act. Gary Johnson or bust.

  18. I guess now is the time to go
    BIG for
    in 2016

  19. Gary Johnson is the only candidate that my conscience will let me vote for now.

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