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CNN "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" - Transcript - State of the Union


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CROWLEY: Then our political panel on the State of the Union watching and the new chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee.

Plus, the high price of a penny. I'm Candy Crowley and this is State of the Union.

Joining mE now from his home state of Kentucky, Republican Senator Rand Paul. Senator Paul, thanks for joining us morning. You are going to deliver the Tea Party response to the president's State of the Union. Why is that needed? You have got an R behind your name and so does Marco Rubio, who is going to deliver the Republican response.

PAUL: I think it just shows that there is a movement in the Republican Party, that has been very vocal, I think particularly in the 2010 election, there was a big movement that helped us win elections. There's a lot of energy that still comes from the Tea Party, and while they consider themselves mostly to be Republican, they occasionally will chastise even the Republican establishment. So they want an independent voice.

CROWLEY: Well, is that what you intend to do, to chastise the Republican establishment?

PAUL: No, but I think really there are some things that I will emphasize maybe Marco doesn't.

CROWLEY: Like what?

PAUL: Doesn't mean that we necessarily disagree.

I don't know. I haven't heard his speech yet. But I would say that there are things that I will talk about -- you know, the president likes to talk about a balanced approach for things. We'll talk, for example, about a balanced budget and how that would be good for the economy. The president likes to say everybody needs to pay their fair share, which means he wants to raise taxes. I'll talk about the Republican message which is we believe you stimulate the economy by reducing taxes, not revenue neutral, I mean really reducing taxes, cutting corporate tax in half, cutting the personal income tax, and the fact that you actually sometimes bring in more revenue when you cut tax rates.

CROWLEY: Well, as you know, you are joined by fellow Republicans, some of whom are not particularly associated with the Tea Party in your quest for what they call real cuts and not just cuts in the growth. I want to get back to Senator Rubio, again because you're both delivering these responses to the president. He was on the cover of Time magazine as the new face of the Republican Party. He has Tea Party support.

I wonder when you look at that and you look at the Republican Party, do you and he represent different parts of the Republican Party? Are you therefore rivals? Who is the face of the Republican Party right now?

PAUL: I don't think anybody gets to choose who is the face is or say you or someone else is the face. I think we do the best to promote what we believe in. One of the things I have talked a lot about that there haven't been many other Republicans talking about is that we shouldn't send foreign aid or money to people who are burning our flag and chanting death to America. So I think I do represent a wing of the Republican Party who doesn't want to send good money after bad to Egypt, or to several of these countries. I would put strings on the money that goes to Pakistan. I would say to Pakistan, you don't get more money until you release the doctor who helped us get bin Laden.

So there are things that distinguish a lot of different Republicans. It doesn't make them bad, or me right or them wrong, what it means is that there is a Tea Party wing that is interested in not sending money to people who are not acting like our allies. CROWLEY: Does it also give aid and comfort to Democrats who see what is clearly a split in the Republican Party, so much so that it requires two responses to the State of the Union?

PAUL: You know, I think to me I see it as an extra response, I don't see it necessarily divisive. You know I won't say anything on there that necessarily is like Marco Rubio is wrong. You know, I don't always agree, but the thing is this isn't about he and I, this is about the Tea Party, which is a grassroots movement, a real movement with millions of Americans who are still concerned about some of the deal making that goes on in Washington, they're still concerned about the fact that we are borrowing $50,000 a second.

None of the things I ran on as part of the Tea Party have been fixed. We're still going down a hole as far as the debt crisis looming. And so we really have to still talk about spending and we want to make sure there is still a voice for that.

CROWLEY: One of the things that is always sort of looked for in the State of the Union Address is the fill in the blank question, the State of the Union is -- what? What will you say the state of the union is?

PAUL: Well, I think it's still robust in the sense we still have greatness as a country. But there's a lot of things that beleaguer us, and I think the debt is the number one. I think the debt is costing us a million jobs a year. The economy slowed in the last quarter. I really that think we have to do something about how enormous government is. And the way Tea Party folks see this, is we see it like our family budget. I have to balance my budget at home, why shouldn't government?

We don't understand these other explanations. We don't understand all these people --the president is now caterwauling about the sequester, so are many Republicans. Tea Party people are saying the sequester is a pittance, it's just a very much even the beginning. $1 trillion and we're increase spending $9 trillion. So really even with the sequester, spending goes up $7 trillion or $8 trillion over the next 10 years. We're not getting close to scratching the surface of the problem.

CROWLEY: Let me ask you about some Kentucky politics. You have said I believe that will support Senator Mitch McConnell who is up for re-election in 2014. Do you believe he will face a Tea Party challenge?

PAUL: I think it's unlikely. I haven't heard any Republican challenger come forward. I don't know, but I haven't heard of any challenger coming forward.

CROWLEY: And I want to play for awe an ad that American Crossroads, this the Karl Rove group, a Republican group, released February 6th. And it's about Ashley Judd, the actress and the activist, she was quite active in the president's campaign. And she has been mentioned frequently as perhaps a Democratic challenger to Mitch McConnell. Here is part of the ad. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Ashley Judd, an Obama following radical Hollywood liberal who is right at home here in Tennessee, I mean Kentucky.


CROWLEY: When you see an ad this far out from a Republican group, it says to me that maybe Senator McConnell, who is a Republican leader in the Senate, is in a little trouble. Is he at this point looking weak?

PAUL: You know, when I heard Ashley Judd might run for office, I thought maybe it was parliament, since she lives in Scotland half of the year. But no I think really that part of politics is making sure people know who you are running against. Ashley Judd is a famous actress, she's an attractive woman, and presents herself well and from what I understand is articulate. But the thing is, she doesn't really represent Kentucky. I mean, she was a representative for Tennessee last year, she lives in Tennessee. So, yeah, I think you do need to make sure people about know that so people don't think she's really from Kentucky or lives here.

CROWLEY: And a couple of questions just on -- we have got some confirmations coming up. We have the Lew confirmation for Treasury secretary, Hagel for Defense, as well as Brennan for the CIA. Are you going to vote against any of those men?

PAUL: I'm most concerned about Brennan. And I'm going to demand answers this week. Senator Wyden asked can they do drone strikes in the United States? And Brennan went on for five minutes talking about optimizing transparency and never answered the question. Until I get an answer...

CROWLEY: You mean drones strikes...

PAUL: ...whether or not you can an American citizen in America -- in America, that's what Wyden can you kill an American in America with only the president's word? And he never answered the question. So I'm going to demand an answer to that question. But I also don't think -- I think it's very unseemly that a politician gets to decide the death of an American citizen. They should answer about the 16- year-old boy, Al Awlaki's son who was killed not as collateral damage, but in a separate strike. They've never answered that.

I think you should be tried for treason. If you're an American citizen, you go overseas, you take up arms -- I'm probably for executing you, but I would want to hear the evidence, I would want to have a judge and a jury. It can be fairly swift, but there needs to be a trial for treason. The president, a politician, Republican or Democrat, should never get to decide someone's death by flipping through flash cards, and say do you want to kill him? I don't know. Yeah, let's go ahead and kill him.

CROWLEY: All right. So we'll put that as a question mark for John Brennan at the CIA and yes for the other two?

PAUL: Well, I haven't decided really. Hagel has been really struggling, and...

CROWLEY: Thanks.

We will check back in with you later on then on those. Thank you so much, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. We will look for you Tuesday night.

Our next guest is one of two independents in the senate. He has been called a bridge builder and problem solver, he has questioned both John Brennan and Chuck Hagel during their confirmation hearings. Not bad for a guy who has been in office 38 days. Angus King of Maine is up next.

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