Rand Paul Is Taking His Anti-NSA Message to Berkeley

The early 2016 Republican front-runner thinks he can win over young voters worried about their privacy.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) takes the stage before addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord International Hotel and Conference Center March 7, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland.
National Journal
Shane Goldmacher
March 10, 2014, 8:22 a.m.

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.

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