Presidential races

Rand Paul: GOP is ‘responsible’ for my debate exclusion

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is blaming the GOP for his exclusion from the main debate stage in this week’s Republican presidential debate, saying the decision may cost the party the support of libertarian voters.

“They have been saying for months they’re going to narrow the field, but I don’t think it’s the job of the establishment in the Republican Party to decide who is and who isn’t [in],” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday morning.

{mosads}Fox Business Network had announced earlier this week that Paul wouldn’t qualify for a spot on the main stage at Thursday’s night’s debate. The network had given candidates a chance to place in the top six spots of polls nationally or the top five either in Iowa or New Hampshire.

Paul, who is boycotting the “undercard” debate that will be held before the main event, said he’s being pushed out because he has a “unique voice.”

“I am the one voice saying we shouldn’t make the sand glow. I am the one voice saying we shouldn’t be collecting all — the government shouldn’t be collecting all your records, and I’m the one voice saying we shouldn’t lock up every kid for marijuana,” he said. 

“Do they really not want liberty voters in their party?” he said.

The Kentucky Republican argued that he should be on the main stage after coming out fifth in the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa poll released Wednesday, ranking ahead of Jeb Bush and several other Republicans who will be on the main debate stage.

Paul said polling “shows we should be” in the debate.

“This one is within their guidelines, within their framework,” Paul said of the Des Moines Register poll, “and we’re telling them today they should be counting it.”

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