Today on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky spoke about the Tea Party response to Tuesday’s State of the Union address, Kentucky politics, and the use of drones to target American citizens. Highlighted excerpts are after the jump and a full transcript may be found here.
On the Tea Party and GOP responses to the State of the Union
CROWLEY: Does it also give aid and comfort to Democrats who see what is clearly a split in the Republican Party, so much so that it requires two responses to the State of the Union?
PAUL: You know, I think to me I see it as an extra response, I don't see it necessarily divisive. You know I won't say anything on there that necessarily is like Marco Rubio is wrong. You know, I don't always agree, but the thing is this isn't about he and I, this is about the Tea Party, which is a grassroots movement, a real movement with millions of Americans who are still concerned about some of the deal making that goes on in Washington, they're still concerned about the fact that we are borrowing $50,000 a second.
None of the things I ran on as part of the Tea Party have been fixed. We're still going down a hole as far as the debt crisis looming. And so we really have to still talk about spending and we want to make sure there is still a voice for that.
On Ashley Judd as a potential Democratic challenger to Mitch McConnell
CROWLEY: When you see an ad this far out from a Republican group, it says to me that maybe Senator McConnell, who is a Republican leader in the Senate, is in a little trouble. Is he at this point looking weak?
PAUL: You know, when I heard Ashley Judd might run for office, I thought maybe it was parliament, since she lives in Scotland half of the year. But no I think really that part of politics is making sure people know who you are running against. Ashley Judd is a famous actress, she's an attractive woman, and presents herself well and from what I understand is articulate. But the thing is, she doesn't really represent Kentucky. I mean, she was a representative for Tennessee last year, she lives in Tennessee. So, yeah, I think you do need to make sure people about know that so people don't think she's really from Kentucky or lives here.
On targeting Americans in drone strikes
PAUL: I'm most concerned about Brennan. And I'm going to demand answers this week. Senator Wyden asked can they do drone strikes in the United States? And Brennan went on for five minutes talking about optimizing transparency and never answered the question. Until I get an answer...
CROWLEY: You mean drones strikes...
PAUL: ...whether or not you can an American citizen in America - in America, that's what Wyden can you kill an American in America with only the president's word? And he never answered the question. So I'm going to demand an answer to that question. But I also don't think - I think it's very unseemly that a politician gets to decide the death of an American citizen. They should answer about the 16- year-old boy, Al Awlaki's son who was killed not as collateral damage, but in a separate strike. They've never answered that.
I think you should be tried for treason. If you're an American citizen, you go overseas, you take up arms - I'm probably for executing you, but I would want to hear the evidence, I would want to have a judge and a jury. It can be fairly swift, but there needs to be a trial for treason. The president, a politician, Republican or Democrat, should never get to decide someone's death by flipping through flash cards, and say do you want to kill him? I don't know. Yeah, let's go ahead and kill him.