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Paul to Republicans: Broaden GOP appeal

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday warned his GOP colleagues to broaden the party’s appeal — or else — just days ahead of what’s expected to be a successful midterm election for Republicans.

{mosads}Paul, making a sweep of the Sunday talk shows, insisted that he wouldn’t make a final decision on a 2016 run for the White House until next year.

But in a trio of interviews, he made a persistent case for the rationale behind his would-be bid for the White House. Just days after saying the GOP brand “sucks,” he cautioned Republicans against becoming complacent should they take over the Senate on Tuesday.

“I don’t think what we stand for is bad. I believe in what the Republican Party values,” Paul said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” after traveling to places like the Detroit area and Ferguson, Mo., in recent months.

“But we have a wall or a barrier between us and African-American barriers. So I’ve spent the last year trying to break down some of that wall.”

In his appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Paul added that he’s heard from black voters in urban areas that Democrats have taken them for granted, giving the GOP a potential avenue to improve their standing among African-Americans.

“I think you have to show up, and I think you have to say something,” Paul said. “Showing up’s not enough.”

But Paul’s interviews also underscored the challenges Republicans will face as they try to grow their tent with a potential Republican-controlled Congress.

The Kentucky Republican maintained that GOP success on Tuesday would be one part endorsement for Republicans, and one part repudiation of President Obama.

That means, Paul said, that Republicans should push GOP priorities next year –including repealing the Democratic healthcare law. On top of that, Paul talked up his one of his priorities that he thinks could gain bipartisan support: slashing the tax rate for offshore corporate profits and using the revenue to make infrastructure investments.

Paul was also forced to walk a fine line on voter identification laws, a central priority for some Republicans but a proposal that draws cries of voter suppression from minority groups.

On the one hand, Paul said he saw no problem in needing to show your identification to vote. But the Kentucky Republican also noted that he was working with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to expand voting opportunities for certain people who committed crimes in the past. And, he said, Republicans were making a mistake in publicizing their efforts on identification laws.

“I want to restore votes. It doesn’t mean that I think it’s unreasonable,” Paul said about the ID laws on “Meet the Press.”

“I just think it’s a dumb idea for Republicans to emphasize this and say, ‘Oh, this is how we’re going to win the election.’ Early voting should be out there for everybody. I’m for early voting. I’m for more voting.”

That was far from the only way that Paul sought to set the stage for a potential 2016 run on Sunday.

Paul has faced questions about whether his more libertarian philosophy can succeed in GOP primaries, especially after the unsuccessful runs by his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

But Paul suggested his efforts to broaden the GOP’s appeal would make for a sharp contrast with both Obama and the presumed Democratic front-runner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“I think there’s a fundamental philosophical debate,” Paul said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I think people are ready for new leadership.”

Plus, Paul added, he’ll likely have a lot of favors coming back his way after his efforts to elect Republicans in the midterms.

“I won’t deny that it would help me, if I do decide to run for president, to have traveled to 32 states and to be part of helping the Republican team,” Paul said on CNN.

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