Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Friday night called for the Republican Party to become a “bigger, more inclusive party” if it wants to succeed in national elections.
"When the Republican Party looks like the rest of America, we'll win again," Paul said, according to the Associated Press.
Paul, a senator in his first term and the son of a three-time presidential aspirant, has made clear that he is considering his own run for the White House in 2016. The Reagan library in California has become a traditional stop for GOP rising stars looking to expand their national profile, and Paul used his address to argue that the party needed to alter the perception that it is anti-government and anti-environment.
The Tea Party favorite said he believed the government should spend as much as it takes in - a figure he said amounted to $2.6 trillion this year.
“Sometimes conservatives get tagged as being against all government,” Paul said, according to The Washington Times.
“I’m not against all government. I’m actually for $2.6 trillion dollars worth,” he said. “I’m for spending what comes in, but nothing in excess of what comes in.”
In trying to soften the edges of what he called his “libertarian-conservative” philosophy, Paul is seeking to broaden his appeal beyond that of his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), who attracted a passionate following of libertarians but whose views were often seen as outside the mainstream.
Paul described himself as an avid lover of the outdoors, arguing that his opposition to burdensome regulations did not mean he hated the environment.
Republicans, he said, “care just as deeply about the environment as Democrats, but we also care about jobs. We want common sense regulations to be balanced with economic growth and jobs.”