(In the photo on our front page, Sen. Rand Paul joins NHGOP Chair Jennifer Horn, left, and Gail Huff Brown briefly phone-banking Thursday morning at Brown campaign headquarters and the NHGOP field office in Manchester.)
MANCHESTER – Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, in the first of four stops in New Hampshire today campaigning for fellow Republican Scott Brown, said the Senate challenger stands a good chance of unseating Jeanne Shaheen on Nov. 4 if voters truly connect her with President Barack Obama.
Paul, a possible presidential hopeful, told a young GOP volunteer at the Manchester headquarters of Brown and the NHGOP that he will consider his options seriously following the mid-term elections and will decide “the early part of spring” of next year whether to run.
For now, he said – as he has often said in New Hampshire this year – he is focused on the mid-terms.
Traveling throughout the country, he said in an interview, “I think the wind’s blowing with us. I think the President’s response on probably 10 issues have all been very unpopular and not thought to be the best decisions, and that’s weighing heavily on his candidates.”
He noted that in his home state, Allison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic candidate who is taking on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, “wouldn’t even admit she voted for (Obama), and it almost looked ridiculous.”
Regarding New Hampshire, Paul said, “It’s hard to beat incumbents, so beating Jeanne Shaheen is an uphill battle, but even though she’s an incumbent, there’s a chance Scott Brown can win up here. That’s why I came back, to try to help with enthusiasm, get phone calls out and getting everybody working hard.”
Paul returned to New Hampshire hours before the New Hampshire Democratic Party was welcoming back former President Bill Clinton. He will be be the featured speaker at its Jefferson-Jackson Dinner fundraiser tonight in Manchester.
Paul appeared with Gail Huff Brown, the candidate’s wife, and NHGOP chair Jennifer Horn for a pep talk with volunteers. Huff Brown called Paul “a messenger for liberty.”
He called Brown’s opponent “Jeanine” Shaheen several times, and said it bothers him that she “thinks you’re not smart enough to choose your own doctor.”
He also said that on “Day One” of the new Congress, Shaheen will vote to reelect Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader.
“I truly mean it. If Harry Reid is elected, not one good thing will happen in this country,” he said, noting that Reid has held up about 400 bills. “Harry Reid has made the Senate a graveyard. Nothing gets passed.
“If Scott Brown wins in New Hampshire, I predict Harry Reid will not be the majority leader,” Paul said.
The three then took to the phones lined up in the room.
Paul had difficulty getting through on calls at first – and even offered some software advice to the staff.
But he eventually made a connection with a voter, who, based on Paul’s reactions to the voter’s questions, seemed concerned that Brown formerly lived for many years in Massachusetts. Paul later said the voter was undecided.
Gail Huff Brown also spoke with a voter who seemed concerned about being from out of state.
“Do you know he’s from New Hampshire?” she asked the person she called. “He’s from New Hampshire and he’s returned home to New Hampshire and he’s running here because he wants to help take back the country.
“Scott feels that things are headed in the wrong direction and we need to put a stop to the Obama and Shaheen agenda,” she told the voter. “So that’s why he’s running in New Hampshire.”
Later, in the interview with the New Hampshire Journal, Paul addressed the Ebola situation. He said he has long proposed that “we ought to be talking about no longer having commercial flights to the United States (from the affected area).”
He said humanitarian flights should continue to and from the area, but he said “elective vacation travel could wait a couple of months.
”If containment and isolation and quarantine are good within a country, you would think you would quarantine the contagion a little bit,” Paul said. “I’m not saying don’t help them, I’m saying elective travel over here is probably not a good idea.”
He said the Centers for Disease Control first advised that “any routine hospital can take care of this thing, but I think that with the transmissibility of this, they’ve downplayed it from the very beginning.”
Paul said that it is inaccurate to compare ability of the Ebola virus to spread with that of AIDS.
“It’s really not like AIDs at all,” he said. “You don’t go to a cocktail party and get AIDS. If you are at a cocktail party with someone with Ebola, you could get it.
“They need to be more forthcoming and honest about the severity of this,” Paul said. “I think they’ve lost trust. Americans are hearing a lot of doublespeak.”
Paul was questioned by a man at the Brown/NHGOP office about the use of Bearcat vehicles by police departments.
“Having a 20-ton, mine-resistant ambush vehicle in a town of 3,000 is ridiculous,” Paul said.