By Ben Kamisar
A super-PAC backing Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulWhat the 'Bernie Sanders wing of the GOP' can teach Congress GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election How low is the bar for presidential candidates, anyway? MORE (R-Ky.) is pulling no punches with the first attack ad of the 2016 GOP presidential primary, complete with fire-breathing bald eagles and slams of Sens. Ted CruzTed CruzRepublicans, it's time to stop asking 'What would Reagan do?' The Hill's 12:30 Report Trump steps up campaign spending in final stretch MORE and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamHigh anxiety for GOP NYC mayor: Trump sounds like ‘a third-world dictator’ Five takeaways from final debate MORE for their stances on government surveillance.
Mimicking the aggressive style of a wrestling event promo, the one-minute spot teases the Senate debate Sunday ("Sunday! Sunday!") over expiring portions of the Patriot Act as the “greatest brawl for liberty of the century."
It also needles Obama’s “so-called conservative accomplices,” Cruz (R-Texas) and Graham (R-S.C.). Cruz, referred to by the super PAC as the “capitulating Canadian” as a dig against the fact that the GOP candidate was born in the country, supports a compromise bill called the USA Freedom Act.
Graham, an ardent supporter of government surveillance programs, is shown trying “to read your emails while doing donuts in a 1997 Geo Metro while it’s on fire.”
The overblown ad highlights the divide in the Senate over these expiring provisions.
Paul successfully blocked all efforts by the Senate late last week to temporarily renew programs that allow the warrantless data collection of Americans’ phone calls and to agree on a compromise measure. That gives the body just hours during a special Sunday session to negotiate a solution before the provisions expire.
Paul has been taking flack from his party this week over the move, with Graham’s Senate ally and 2008 GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCainJohn McCainHigh anxiety for GOP Trump: 'Very disappointed' GOP senator dropped support GOP senator: I'd consider Clinton Supreme Court pick MORE accusing him of blocking the deal to drum up support for his campaign.
His assertion that Republican hawks stoked the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria drew the ire of GOP rivals — Govs. Bobby Jindal (La.), Chris Christie (N.J.) and Scott Walker (Wisc.) — with Jindal referring to him as “unsuited” for the presidency.