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CNN "Erin Burnett Outfront" - Transcript:


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BURNETT: All right, Barbara Starr, thank you very much for that breaking news.

I want to bring in now Texas Senator Rand Paul. He has a new book called "Government Bullies, How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed and Abused and Imprisoned By The Feds." Senator Rand Paul, thank you so much.

SENATOR RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Glad to be with you, Erin.

BURNETT: So you just heard Barbara Starr talking about, now reporting they clearly say there were intercepted communications that helped stop a possible plot on American interest and embassies. Does that make the NSA surveillance program worth it?

PAUL: Well, the thing is, I don't think there's been any evidence that anything intercepted from the program of spying or collecting American data has ever uniquely been used to stop any terrorism. You know, they had a discussion with Senator Leahy and the committee and they talked about 50 plots and then it got down to 15 and 4 then it was one.

BURNETT: How many had been explicitly stopped because of --

PAUL: I'm not against tapping phones of people you suspect to be terrorists. All I'm for is calling a judge first. I'm not for looking at all American's records, but if an American is involved call a judge. It's not that hard to get a warrant. We fought a revolution over separating the powers, not letting police get warrants. You have to call a judge.

BURNETT: And now one of the things the United States has done in response is close the embassies and there's been this unprecedented spate of drone attacks that happened in the last week, ten days. A lot of people have been killed and only a couple of terrorists. And you can read into that what you will what that might do to the United States. You've said before me you are against drone strikes unless there's an imminent threat against Americans so if we intercepted communications that there was a possible plot. Is that an imminent threat? Does it justify the drone attacks?

PAUL: You know, it's not really technology that I'm opposed to. For example, using drones in warfare against our enemies to save our soldiers, doing it to disrupt a plot, I think there are uses and I'm not opposed to using drones. I am opposed to and think that using large-scale drone use against non-combatants ultimately may not be good for the country because it ultimately may lead to more enmity that it cures.

BURNETT: Now, Sarah Palin was recently asked about something else, not about drones, about the feud, the feud. I'll just use that word for fun here.

PAUL: I am from Kentucky so we are used to feuding. We can hold a grudge for a long time, but I'm kind of wanting to get rid of the grudge now. I want to make up --

BURNETT: Make up with Chris Christie.

PAUL: That's right. I've offered him a beer. We can have a beer summit. I know he's busy. I could even come to New Jersey for him and I might buy the beer and I'm notoriously very cheap. And I would offer to buy the beer.

BURNETT: Offer to buy the beer for Chris Christie. He might like that. He's got some vacation coming up. I want to play something that Sarah Palin said about this because this sort of puts you in an interesting spot. Here is Miss Palin.


SARAH PALIN: I'm on Team Rand. Rand Paul understands, he gets the whole notion of don't tread on me, government. Whereas Chris Christie is for big government and, you know, trying to go along to get along in so many respects.


PAUL: I love an endorsement by Sarah Palin. What's not to love?

BURNETT: All right, so you're happy. You're happy she's on Team Rand.

PAUL: Absolutely. Team Rand, you know, whatever that means can include a lot of people. What I've been telling people is that I want to grow the Republican Party and that means that some of the libertarian ideas of respecting people's privacy, respecting the fourth amendment, not spying on Americans, I think that appeals to a lot of young people and will bring new people into our party if we become the party of privacy. It's hurt the president significantly.

BURNETT: Right. You know, it's interesting when you say that, though, as a libertarian you've got a tough issue because one of the things that defines the Republican Party is social issues where the government intrudes or has decisions about what people do. That's exactly the kind of thing that a big-tent Republican Party might not be able to hold on to keep winning a national election, right?

I'm talking about let's just throw it out there about gay marriage, for example. What are you going to do for gay marriage? Because to win the general you might need to be for it, to win the primary, you may have to be against it.

PAUL: Do I have to do something?

BURNETT: At some point in the primary debate you're going to be forced to answer it, right?

PAUL: Part of the Republican Party being bigger is we agree to disagree. Maybe in Kentucky, we still believe in traditional marriage, part of our constitution. Maybe in New York they have a different point of view but maybe we agree to disagree as a union. Some of that sort of our ideas of federalism that different states can have different definitions on maybe some of the cultural things that affect our country that we don't always agree on is so that we agree to disagree and then maybe we can become a big party. I'm not one that sort of --

BURNETT: You might, look, President Paul, I'm not going to take a stand on there. I'll leave it to the states.

PAUL: That's where I am. I don't think there should be a connection of marriage to the federal government.

BURNETT: Now we're three years away from the presidential election, right? Obviously, I know you've talked about it. You are talking to your family and making your final decision. Senator Ted Cruz from Texas already made two trips to Iowa. You know this whole situation, right? He was born in Canada to a mother who was from Delaware so she was a natural born American and a father born in Cuba at the time. So, the law, we looked into it, says he should be eligible to run for president. Do you agree?

PAUL: You won't find me questioning his eligibility. I decided a long time ago I wouldn't be a birther. I'm not a birther for Democrats. I'm not a birther for Republicans. I'm staying out of that.

BURNETT: That's a smart move.

PAUL: I'm saying out of that one.

BURNETT: There's nothing good about being a birther. All right, Senator Paul, thank you so much. It's always good to see you and finally in person here on our set in New York.

PAUL: Glad to be here.


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