Rand Paul wins presidential straw poll at Conservative PAC conference

March 8, 2014 at 7:31 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 8 (UPI) -- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., easily won Saturday's straw presidential poll at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington.

Paul, son of libertarian former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, took 31 percent of the vote from the conference attendees in National Harbor, Md. -- the second straight year he has won their nod for the Republican presidential nomination.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was second with 11 percent, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Paul won over the conservatives on Friday for his views on National Security Agency surveillance programs.

While most speakers on the second day of the three-day conference, many of whom presidential hopefuls, spoke about the Russian intervention in Ukraine's Crimea region, Paul chose to address the expansive surveillance of Americans conducted by the NSA, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"If you have a cellphone, you are under surveillance. I believe what you do on your cellphone is none of their damn business," Paul said. "I don't question President Obama's motives, but history will record his timid defense of liberty."

"Our rights are innate, they come from our creator and no government can take them away from us," he said. "The Constitution merely codifies what exists before all time. Mr. President, we won't let you -- we will not let you run roughshod over our rights. We will challenge you in the courts. We will battle you at the ballot box. Mr. President, we will not let you shred our constitution. Our future hangs in the balance."

Paul's speech garnered the most applause during the conference which wrapped up Saturday with speeches by former House Speaker Newt Ginrich, Carson and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Also during his speech, Paul knocked former President Bill Clinton, calling him a "sexual predator," The Hill reported.

"It is quite hypocritical that a party that says they're great defenders of women in the workplace supports a guy who violated all of those pledges, all of those promises that the workplace is a safer place for women than it has been in the past," he said. "He's a throwback to a sort of troglodyte time, where men did whatever they wanted to women in the workplace."

Paul also said Democrats should return donations raised or contributed by Clinton.

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