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This Is Huge: Rand Paul Helps Thom Tillis Nationalize His Campaign

Senator Rand Paul and NC GOP Senate Candidate Thom Tillis

Less than two weeks after Jeb Bush made a disastrous swing through North Carolina to campaign for GOP Senate candidate Thom Tillis, and by his comments in support of Common Core and amnesty for illegal aliens only succeeded in reminding conservatives why they had been skeptical and uninspired by Tillis’ at-that-point content-free campaign, Senator Rand Paul trod the same ground, helped Tillis focus on nationalizing his campaign, and showed why he is going to be such a formidable candidate if he decides to get into the 2016 presidential contest.

As Jonathan Martin writing for The New York Times reported, on September 24, “Standing alongside Thom Tillis, the North Carolina House speaker and Republican Senate candidate, Mr. Bush outlined his views on two of the issues he cares most passionately about: immigration policy and education standards. But as Mr. Bush made the case for an immigration overhaul and the Common Core standards, Mr. Tillis gently put distance between himself and his guest of honor, who had flown here from Florida on a dreary day to offer his endorsement in a race that could decide which party controls the Senate.”

“You have to make it clear that amnesty shouldn’t be on the table,” Mr. Tillis said according to Martin, referring to how to address those immigrants currently in the country illegally. “That doesn’t negate any opportunity to provide some with legal status and other things, but you only do that after you seal the borders and you make the problem no longer grow.”

On the Common Core, the educational standards first devised by a bipartisan group of governors, which have become deeply unpopular among conservative activists, Martin reported Mr. Tillis also sounded far more conservative than Mr. Bush. The North Carolina House approved the standards in 2011, but, facing primary challengers from the right earlier this year, Mr. Tillis backed away from them noted Martin.

“I’m not willing to settle just for a national standard if we think we can find things to set a new standard and a best practice,” Mr. Tillis said according to Martin’s article, pivoting to an attack on the federal Education Department as “a bureaucracy of 5,000 people in Washington” who make an average salary of a little more than $100,000.

While criticizing the Education Department is common among Republicans, Mr. Tillis was standing next to the younger brother of President George W. Bush, whose signature accomplishments include No Child Left Behind, the sweeping federal education law run by the department, reported Martin.

We bring these points up by way of contrast to the reception Senator Rand Paul got, and what he said when he was in North Carolina to endorse Tillis.

“I don’t see Common Core being—if you’re for Common Core and you’re for a national curriculum, I don’t see it being a winning message in a Republican primary,” Paul said in an interview with Breitbart’s Matt Boyle backstage at an event where he endorsed Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) for reelection. “If there’s a Republican candidate out there—let’s just say there’s a hypothetical one that’s for Common Core. I’m saying that that hypothetical candidate that’s for Common Core probably doesn’t have much chance of winning in a Republican primary.”

“I don’t think there’s really a constitutional role for the federal government in education. So I’m not for a national curriculum,” Paul added according to Boyle’s reporting:

I think the danger of having one central governmental authority deciding curriculum is what if we get some people who decide we really need to treat Karl Marx fairly, we need to make sure he gets a good write up in the history and Adam Smith, oh gosh, he was terrible. You can see how once it’s nationalized, one person can insert a bias into the curriculum, and it goes everywhere, and then you have to fight it. Should your local school district have to fight Washington, or shouldn’t you have to go to a school board member and say, "Should we have that in our textbooks?" So more local control is better. And different parts of the country might choose different curriculums—and North Carolina is more conservative, so my guess is they might have a little bit different curriculum than San Francisco.

It’s certainly a smart place to do it, noted Matt Boyle. During interviews between speeches by various local candidates here, Tea Party activists, including those from the Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association (CCTA)—one of the most aggressive local Tea Party groups in the region—recounted how they have battled with their state leaders in both parties over Common Core.

“Common Core is a very big issue,” CCTA Chairman Rick Hopkins told Breitbart News. “The leader of our Common Core watchdog group was very instrumental here in Raleigh working with the legislature leaders and getting that law changed.”

Later in Greenville, when Rep. Walter Jones introduced Paul to a group of donors at the first of two fundraisers—this one for higher dollar donors, the second an evening barbecue for hundreds of Jones supporters—he spoke of Paul as if he were already designated the next President of the United States.

“He is a man that in my opinion could maybe be the only individual that can save America from self-destruction,” Jones said of Paul as he introduced him to the group of about 100 people in the Hilton function room in downtown Greenville. He continued:

The country is $17.7 trillion in debt. In the year 2000, it was $5.6 trillion. Today, it’s $17.7 trillion. Neither Bush nor Obama have followed the Constitution. The man that I’m going to introduce right now believes in the Constitution, and when he raises his right hand to accept the presidency of the United States, he will follow the Constitution. I give to you right now Sen. Rand Paul from the great state of Kentucky.

Those inside the event cheered, and according to matt Boyle's report one man shouted, “I hope so!”

In his interview backstage later, between the two events, Paul joked with Breitbart’s Boyle that Jones was not “authorized” to say he’s running for president.  Try as we might, we couldn’t find any reports of a groundswell of presidential support gathering in the Tar Heel State after Bush’s September appearance on behalf of Tillis.

Authorized or not, the facts that Rep. Walter Jones didn’t hesitate to endorse him for President and that Senator Paul came through North Carolina to such a tumultuous welcome, and that he was willing to sharply (although indirectly) define himself against Jeb Bush after Bush’s out of touch remarks on Common Core and amnesty, speaks volumes about the vast difference in the connection with the grassroots that Paul enjoys vis a vis Bush.


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