By ROGER ALFORD (Associated Press) –
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Republican Rand Paul said Tuesday he differs with the Libertarian Party by opposing abortion and supporting judicious overseas troop deployment, distancing himself from the party his father once represented in a presidential election.
The U.S. Senate candidate from Kentucky told syndicated conservative talk show host Sean Hannity that he doesn’t fit the mold of a Libertarian. Paul said his conservative social views and willingness to send troops abroad to protect the U.S. set him apart from the party some have tried to associate him with.
“Instead of maybe saying we’re never anywhere overseas, I say we need to be more judicious in where we are, in that I don’t think we can afford to be everywhere all the time,” Paul said. “But it also doesn’t mean that we never intervene and that we can allow people to attack us.”
Libertarians suggested after Paul’s victory in the Republican primary May 18 that they might field a challenger to Paul and Democratic nominee Jack Conway, but have since backed off the notion.
Kentucky Libertarian Party Chairman Ken Moellman said last week it seems “rather impractical” to run against the two well-funded candidates. The filing deadline is Aug. 10.
Political observers had reasoned that a Libertarian candidate could siphon votes from Paul, the son of Texas Congressman and two-time presidential candidate Ron Paul. Ron Paul ran for president as a Libertarian in 1988, then as a Republican in 2008.
Tuesday was the second straight day Paul has appeared on conservative talk shows. He had retreated from the national scene for several weeks after making a series of divisive statements, including suggesting that government should not require private businesses to serve minorities.
Paul sparked widespread anger with remarks last month to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow that he has misgivings about the Civil Rights Act. Paul told Maddow he abhors racial discrimination but suggested that the federal government should not have the power to force restaurants to serve minorities if owners don’t want to.
Paul ruffled feathers again by defending the oil company blamed for the Gulf oil spill and telling a Russian TV station that babies of illegal immigrants shouldn’t automatically receive U.S. citizenship.
Paul told Hannity on Tuesday that the “most momentous vote” a senator can cast is to send U.S. troops into combat, and that, when troops are used, a declaration of war should be made.
“If I were in the Senate, I would have asked for a declaration of war with Afghanistan, and I would have voted for it because I think we can’t let people organize in a country and attack us,” he said. “I think there are times when we have to go in and prevent, at times, people that are organizing to attack us.”