At CPAC, Rand Paul Says He Will Propose ‘Largest Tax Cut in American History’

The senator from Kentucky received a warm welcome at the annual conference on Friday.

Supporters of Sen. Rand Paul work at a stand at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, outside Washington, DC on February 26, 2015.
National Journal
Feb. 27, 2015, 8:03 a.m.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — This was Rand Paul’s crowd, and it was clear the moment he stepped on stage.

The ballroom of the Conservative Political Action Conference was packed to the rafters on Friday, a standing room of activists that erupted at the mere announcement of his name.

In a 15-minute speech interrupted by applause and chants of “President Paul,” he delivered a tribute to small-government Republicanism, both foreign and domestic. In doing so, he offered a sharp contrast with the rest of the GOP field, especially on international affairs, declaring he wanted an American military “unparalleled and undefeatable and unencumbered by nation-building.”

“As conservatives, we should not succumb to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow become a success abroad,” Paul declared.

Even if Paul’s libertarian-leanings make him an outlier in the GOP field, they aligned him with the younger CPAC crowd. He spoke about the need to “promote stability” and touted his opposition to arming rebels in Syria in late 2013.

“It troubles me that we must now fight against our own weapons,” Paul said.

On the domestic front, Paul revealed that in the coming weeks he would propose “the largest tax cut in American history” and that it would slash taxes for everyone “from the richest to the poorest.” In addition, he said he would unveil a spending blueprint that would balance the federal budget in “just five years,” a highly aggressive timetable.

Paul, who is expected to try to simultaneously run for president and the Senate in 2016, said term limits for Congress are the most important new constitutional amendment that could be adopted.

The crowd lapped up the speech, even if it was not the week’s most well-delivered. Paul is the two-time reigning champion of the CPAC straw poll; his dad, Ron Paul, won the CPAC straw poll in 2010 and 2011.

Members of Young Americans for Liberty, which grew out of the youth movement that supported the presidential campaigns of the elder Paul, packed the hall. The group sent more than 500 members to CPAC in 2014 and Executive Director Jeff Frazee said turnout was even bigger this year.

Formally nonpartisan, the group has spent the week distributing “Stand with Rand” posters and paraphernalia, and hosted a happy hour featuring Paul on Thursday night.

“Will you stand with me? Will you fight for freedom? Will you vote for freedom?” Paul concluded his speech.

The crowd cheered.

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