Sen. Rand Paul didn't watch his colleague and competitor Ted Cruz's entire presidential announcement on Monday (Paul was "traveling" and "busy"), but he had a whole lot of analysis about the 2016 field in an interview with Megyn Kelly.
Paul touted his traveling to unvisited locations for Republicans (Berkeley, Howard). Cruz, of course, chose a more traditional choice Monday, announcing at Liberty University, the Christian college in Virginia. And while he's been in those "places Republicans haven't gone," Paul said, "maybe not just throwing out red meat, but throwing out something intellectually enticing to people who haven't been listening to our message before."
None of the comments directly criticized Cruz in name — or any other Republican — exactly. Paul noted that Cruz and he agree on a lot and come from "kind of the same wing of the party." But Paul was unusually analytical and candid for a prospective presidential candidate:
"It isn't just about rousing the base, it's about exciting the base by being for the principles of liberty, but it's then taking those principles of liberty, not diluting them, and taking them to new people, bring them into the party. That's the way you win general elections."
"See my polling — no one is doing better against Hillary Clinton than myself because we're already picking up 3 to 5% of the independent vote above what the others are picking up."
"Your rival station had a poll yesterday that had me tied for the lead with Walker and Bush in a nationwide poll, so we feel pretty comfortable that there is sort of a developing first tier."
"Right now, I'm the only one that beats Hillary Clinton in certain purple states. I'm the only one that also scores above all the other Republicans in whether or not I can beat her."
"There will be a lot of conservatives — and Ted Cruz is a conservative — but it also goes to winnability."
Paul is expected to announce he is running for president on April 7 in Louisville.