CPAC activists waited an hour-and-a-half for Senator Rand Paul after congressional votes delayed his speech, and the pent-up energy made for a rowdy welcome.
“President Paul! President Paul! President Paul!” the attendees chanted in the middle of Paul’s speech after he declared America needs “a new president.”
The longtime CPAC favorite and 2016 presidential contender addressed foreign and domestic policy issues, with Paul promising to unveil a plan that would balance the budget in five years while passing “the largest tax cut in American history.”
“My tax plan will get the IRS out of your life and out of the way of every job creator in America,” he said.
Paul turned to economic issues only after citing the Benghazi terrorist attacks as the centerpiece of an indictment of Hillary Clinton and a defense of his own foreign-policy ideas.
Paul noted that terrorists took over Libya after Clinton backed intervening against the incumbent dictatorship.
“As [Hillary Clinton] was declaring victory in Libya, Ambassador Stevens was pleading for more security,” Paul said. “Her dereliction of duty should forever preclude her from higher office. . . . It’s time for Hillary Clinton to permanently retire.”
As Paul tied the rise of terrorists in Libya to the U.S. intervention, he also argued that ISIS was empowered by a misguided decision to arm Syrian rebels.
“Without question, we must now defend ourselves and American interests from this barbarous aberration; but it troubles me that we must now fight against our own weapons,” he said. “As conservatives we should not succumb to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow become successful abroad.”