Rand Paul warns of GOP becoming dinosaur
Senator cites 'robotic squirrels' in fiscal cliff comments
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who's known for his libertarian leanings, cautioned Tuesday that the Republican Party could meet the same fate as animals that went extinct millions of years ago.
"I think my party, the Republican Party, is shrinking. We're in danger of becoming a dinosaur," he said on CNN's "Newsroom." "We're not competitive on the West Coast, we're not competitive in New England."
Paul joins a chorus of Republican voices offering criticism of their own party in the wake of Mitt Romney's presidential loss earlier this month. The first-term senator, elected with strong tea party support in 2010, said change is in order.
"We need a new type of Republican (Party), I think, one that involves some of the ideas of libertarian leaning Republicans and people who agree in a less aggressive foreign policy," Paul told CNN's Brooke Baldwin.
The senator, whose father Ron Paul ran for president for the third time this cycle, said last week he was considering a White House bid of his own in 2016. He attempted to clarify those remarks on Tuesday when asked about his presidential aspirations.
"What I've said is that I won't deny I'm interested -- a little bit different than 'I am interested,'" Paul said, pointing to a need for reform in the party.
Paul also weighed in on the fiscal cliff -- a series of tax hikes and spending cuts to kick in next year if Congress fails to reach a deficit-reduction deal. Focusing on the negotiations to find an agreement and avert the crisis, Paul said entitlement reform -- one of the options on the table in debt talks -- should happen on its own and not be part of a deal that also includes raising taxes.
"The way I look at it is entitlements are broken, and it's not my fault, it's not Democrats' fault, it's because your grandparents had too many babies. It's because we're living longer. These are just facts," he said. "Taxing anyone in a weak economy is not good."
The Kentucky senator also said he'd be one of the few conservatives willing to compromise on military cuts but remained firm against raising taxes. To make his case, Paul cited examples of what he considers wasteful spending and argued an increase in tax rates would be futile while the government spends "$300,000 a year on robotic squirrels" and $2 million "on how we can convince Chinese prostitutes not to drink so much on the job."
As for as the first claim, Paul was referring to a project at the University of California at Davis, where researchers examined why squirrels are willing to confront rattlesnakes, their main predators, in the wild.
The project was awarded a grant worth $390,000 by the National Science Foundation in 2010, according to the university.
Paul also wasn't too far off on the Chinese prostitution claim, though it happened in the George W. Bush administration. In November 2008, the Wayne State University School of Medicine announced that the National Institutes of Health awarded one of its researchers a 5-year grant worth $2.6 million to study "whether an alcohol and HIV intervention center can assist in reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS among sex workers in China."
The project aimed to develop the intervention center for the female sex workers to examine how a reduction in alcohol could lower the risk and spread of HIV in an area of China ranked the third highest province dealing with the infection.
Copyright 2012 by CNN NewSource. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.