August 2nd, 2015
10:16 AM ET

Senator Rand Paul on CNN's State of the Union: "I support any legislation that will defund Planned Parenthood"

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), joined anchor, Jake Tapper, for an exclusive interview.

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

 

VIDEO HIGHLIGHT

Paul: Planned Parenthood 'a front for doing abortions'

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul has been part of the fight in Congress to pull federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Paul on defunding Planned Parenthood: “…I think we can have disputes – over abortion.  Our country is divided.  Some people are pro-choice.  Some are pro-life. But I think a lot of people, even a lot of pro-choice people, are upset by these videos.  They, you know, manipulating the baby, turning the baby around to get the body parts and then selling the liver and the doctors cavalierly saying oh, well, yes, liver is popular right now for sale. I think most Americans don't want their tax dollars going to this. So I think when something is so morally repugnant to so many people, why should tax dollars go to this?...I think most people do want to - defund this.  And I think what you would find is, if you look at this, we have 9,000 community health centers that do everything that Planned Parenthood does, but they don't get into abortions. So it would be much less emotional for everyone if we just funded community health centers and didn't fund Planned Parenthood.”

Paul on Trump’s rise being a “temporary loss of sanity”: “I think there are a lot of people upset.  I'm one of them.  The reason I left being a physician, you know, I'm not a career politician.  I got involved in this because I was upset with Washington. So, yes, Washington - Congress has about a 10 percent approval rating.  And I'm one of the 90 percent that disagrees with what Congress is doing. So I think there is a vein of anger, yes, that represents some of those who are thinking about Donald Trump, but I think there's also going to be a serious debate, ultimately, starting this week, in the presidential debates, about who has the ideas that would fix the country? Instead of getting so far afield in a lot of, I think, maybe empty talk, maybe we ought to talk about should we have a flat tax?”

Paul reacts to the criticism of his views on foreign policy: “I will do whatever it takes to defend the country, but I'm not interested or a believer that every intervention has been good for us. Hillary's war in Libya made Libya a disaster, a failed state, and made us less safe. Many of the Republicans who are carping at my heels, those who want to be relevant in this debate, they supported Hillary Clinton's war in Libya.  They supported sending money to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. So we will have this debate over who supports the president's foreign policy.  And I think you'll find that the tables may well be turned.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Joining me now from Davenport, Iowa, where he is practicing with the single-A baseball team, the Bandits, in the land of "Field of Dreams," Iowa, Republican presidential candidate and aspiring center fielder, Senator Rand Paul. Senator Paul, thanks for squeezing us in between innings.  We appreciate it.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thanks, Jake. Thanks for having me.

TAPPER:  So you've got a new ad, TV ad, about Planned Parenthood airing in some - airing in some of these early primary and caucus states. Let's show a quick clip of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Planned Parenthood takes over a half a million tax dollars every year.  They perform abortions and sell baby body parts. As a conservative leader, Rand is forcing a vote this week to end taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER:  And, obviously, Planned Parenthood disputes much of the content of that ad.

But so, let's talk about the substance of it. In your drive to defund Planned Parenthood, you've said that the reason that this nation can afford to do away with federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which - which the federal funding supposedly does not fund any of the abortions.  But the reason you've said you - it can be done is because, quote, "We have doubled and tripled the funding for community health centers." Now, it should be pointed out that the big increase in funding for community health centers comes from ObamaCare, which you obviously voted against and you vowed to repeal. Does this mean that you are committed at least to the money for the community health centers?

PAUL:  Well, I think we can have disputes, you know, over abortion.  Our country is divided.  Some people are pro-choice.  Some are pro-life. But I think a lot of people, even a lot of pro-choice people, are upset by these videos.  They, you know, manipulating the baby, turning the baby around to get the body parts and then selling the liver and the doctors cavalierly saying oh, well, yes, liver is popular right now for sale. I think most Americans don't want their tax dollars going to this. So I think when something is so morally repugnant to so many people, why should tax dollars go to this?

And so I think most people do want to defend this - defund this.  And I think what you would find is, if you look at this, we have 9,000 community health centers that do everything that Planned Parenthood does, but they don't get into abortions. So it would be much less emotional for everyone if we just funded community health centers and didn't fund Planned Parenthood.

TAPPER:  Do you support continued funding for the community health centers even though it would double to triple from ObamaCare?

PAUL:  I do support a role for government in community health centers.  The specific bill, including it in ObamaCare obviously would make it such that I can't support that particular bill.  But supporting some funding for community health centers, I think, is reasonable.  And there are people who do need help.

But, really, Planned Parenthood is sort of a front for doing abortion.  They say they don't use federal money, but how can you take money for the group and say none of it is somewhere benefitting the production and the - the execution of - of abortion? So, really, I think that if you look honestly and objectively, we have government funds going to - a lot of government funds, $5 billion going to community health centers, I think if you look at it objectively, people would say, why do we have to get involved with a group that's, you know, selling baby organs, you know? So I think people - even pro-choice people are upset by these videos.  So I mean I think the country ought to wake up and we ought to get rid of this funding.

TAPPER:  Right.  Senator Ted Cruz has said he's prepared to shut down the government, if that's what it takes to defund Planned Parenthood. Do you support that?

PAUL:  I support any legislation that will defund Planned Parenthood.  But I don't think you start out with your objective to shut down the government.  I mean if President Obama wants to shut down the government because he doesn't get funds for Planned Parenthood that would be President Obama's determination to shut down the government. But, you know, that's always a pointing fingers battle and it is the obligation of Congress, the power of the purse, that's an obligation of Congress, to determine how money is spent. And so I've told people, I want thousands and thousands of instructions on thousands of items on how they should spend them.  That's what Congress is supposed to do.

TAPPER:  So I want to turn to politics and the Republican Party and the race for president.  I mean you said this week that the rise of Donald Trump represents a temporary loss of sanity - those were your words - in the Republican Party. Chris Christie, when I asked him about your quote, he - he disagrees.  He says that Trump is giving voice to legitimate anger. Do you stand by the diagnosis of temporary insanity?

PAUL:  Well, I think there are a lot of people upset.  I'm one of them.  The reason I left being a physician, you know, I'm not a career politician.  I got involved in this because I was upset with Washington. So, yes, Washington - Congress has about a 10 percent approval rating.  And I'm one of the 90 percent that disagrees with what Congress is doing. So I think there is a vein of anger, yes, that represents some of those who are thinking about Donald Trump, but I think there's also going to be a serious debate, ultimately, starting this week, in the presidential debates, about who has the ideas that would fix the country?

Instead of getting so far afield in a lot of, I think, maybe empty talk, maybe we ought to talk about should we have a flat tax? I - I proposed a tax code where you could do your tax return on one page, 14.5 percent for everybody, and then we talk about is it a good idea to send more money to Washington or less money? I want to cut Washington, cut the taxes and cut the size of government.

TAPPER:  Your Republican rivals have had some tough things to say about your foreign policy views.  Chris Christie specifically has implicitly called your views dangerous, including this week.  He said - suggested that you need to come to New Jersey and hear from the widows and orphans affected by 9/11. Senator Lindsey Graham has said that when it comes to foreign policy, you're - you're weaker than Hillary Clinton. How much are you going to talk about this on Thursday in the debate if your rivals come at you on this issue?

PAUL:  We will make a clear distinction between myself and some of the others that I'm a small government conservative, one who believes in The Constitution. I will do whatever it takes to defend the country, but I'm not interested or a believer that every intervention has been good for us. Hillary's war in Libya made Libya a disaster, a failed state, and made us less safe. Many of the Republicans who are carping at my heels, those who want to be relevant in this debate, they supported Hillary Clinton's war in Libya.  They supported sending money to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

So we will have this debate over who supports the president's foreign policy.  And I think you'll find that the tables may well be turned.

TAPPER:  We're looking forward to it on Thursday. Good luck, Senator Paul. Thank you so much for joining us.

PAUL:  Thanks, Jake.

END INTERVIEW

 


Topics: CNN • Jake Tapper • State of the Union
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