That NSA Ruling Could Give Rand Paul's Campaign The Boost It Needs
On Thursday, a court's ruling gave Rand Paul’s presidential campaign a big boost. After years after speaking out against the National Security Agency (NSA) for its infringements on Americans’ privacy, Paul finally got another big ally on his side of the debate: the New York appeals court. Much to Paul’s delight, the federal appeals court just ruled that the NSA’s collection and storage of data from Americans’ phone calls extended past the confines set by Congress in the Patriot Act. Paul’s description of the ruling? “A monumental decision for all lovers of liberty.”
While Paul has faced criticism in the last months for flip-flopping and switching positions on everything from foreign policy to defense spending, he has held his ground on his position on the NSA — and now that just might be paying off. And Paul knows it. As Bloomberg points out, while Paul might have taken his good old time getting around to responding to the situation in Baltimore, he didn’t waste a second jumping into the discussion of the court’s ruling. His campaign tweeted its praise minutes after the ruling was announced.
Paul released this official statement, shortly after the tweets:
I commend the federal courts for upholding our Constitution and protecting our Fourth Amendment rights. While this is a step in the right direction, it is now up to the Supreme Court to strike down the NSA's illegal spying program. It is the duty of elected officials to protect the rights of all Americans, and Congress should immediately repeal the Patriot Act provisions and pass my Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act. I will continue to fight to prevent the Washington Machine from illegally seizing any American's personal communication.
With dipping favorability ratings, this ruling on the NSA could offer Paul the boost he needs to re-seize the spotlight and to remind voters that his campaign actually is in sync with the times and the country’s momentum. Paul has already been campaigning against the Fourth Amendment problem, and now he has a renewed relevance and zest with which he can promote a campaign issue on which he’s stood strong.
But Paul better not bank on his NSA stance to get him to 2016. He isn’t the only candidate who has spoken out in favor of Thursday’s ruling. Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz also released a statement praising the ruling. He also used the opportunity to champion a bill that he co-sponsored, the USA Freedom Act, which he says will “strike the right balance between privacy rights and national security interests.”
But even if Paul isn't the only one doing, Paul’s campaign should milk this moment while it’s happening — it could give him the boost he needs.
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