Sen. Rand Paul is taking his anti-surveillance message on the road—and into the liberal lion's den of Berkeley.
Paul, the Kentucky Republican widely seen as laying the groundwork for a 2016 presidential run, will speak at the famously liberal university next week at an event on privacy, according to a Paul aide.
The appearance comes on the heels of Paul's straw-poll victory at the Conservative Political Action Conference over the weekend for the second straight year. There, he delivered a rousing speech that sharply denounced the nation's surveillance programs. "What you do on your cell phone is none of their damn business," Paul told the crowd to big applause.
Paul has said repeatedly that the Republican Party's path back to power is to regain those constituencies who have felt alienated in recent years. Younger voters are at the top of his list and Paul thinks concerns about the National Security Agency's tracking tactics are the key to winning them over.
"The Fourth Amendment is equally as important as the Second Amendment, and conservatives cannot forget this," Paul said in his CPAC speech.
On Fox News Sunday, he reiterated the NSA's particular importance in appealing to younger voters. "The president won the youth vote 3-1, but his numbers have dropped 20 percent, 30 percent among the youth," Paul said on Fox. " … And so, I think there's a real opportunity for Republicans who do believe in the Fourth Amendment to grow our party by attracting young people and bring that energy into our party."
The Berkeley event will mark Paul's latest foray into what is perceived as politically hostile territory. He has also spoken at historically black colleges, including Howard University in Washington last year, in an effort to broaden his—and his party's—appeal to African-American voters.
This article appears in the March 11, 2014 edition of NJ Daily.