WASHINGTON — Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul declares that calls for more surveillance in the wake of the Paris attacks are "bullshit" in a series of social media ads targeting young people being released by one of the main super PACs supporting his candidacy.
"So when they stand up on television and say, 'The tragedy in Paris means you have to give up your liberty, we need more phone surveillance' — bullshit!" Paul says in the 15-second clip for Facebook, which was pulled from footage of a speech he gave at George Washington University last week. The super PAC, America's Liberty PAC, also made two shorter ads for Snapchat. All three ads were provided to BuzzFeed News in advance of the ads' release today.
The ads emphasize Paul's differences with the rest of the Republican field on national security during a fraught time in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. The attacks have intensified the hawkish tendencies of the other candidates and highlighted the fault lines over surveillance and privacy issues within the GOP field. Marco Rubio, for example, last week criticized rival Ted Cruz for voting for the USA Freedom Act, saying "the weakening of U.S. intelligence gathering leaves America vulnerable."
"If you want more government surveillance and less freedom, there are a dozen other Republicans and Hillary Clinton you can vote for," John McCardell, senior vice president of America's Liberty PAC, said in a statement to BuzzFeed News. "But if you want liberty, privacy and the Rule of Law, Rand Paul is the only candidate for you."
Paul makes a point of reaching out to younger audiences and frequently campaigns on college campuses. These ads are designed to appeal to that demographic.
America's Liberty PAC is one of the main super PACs supporting Paul's candidacy and is led by two Paul family allies, former Ron Paul campaign manager Jesse Benton and Campaign for Liberty chief John Tate. Both took leaves of absence this year because of charges against them in a case relating to the bribery of an Iowa state senator during the 2012 election. Benton's trial culminated last month in an acquittal and the charges against Tate had previously been dropped, though a federal grand jury re-indicted them last week.