By Max Sullivan, Contributing Writer
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky endorsed Scott Brown to represent New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate Friday at the University of New Hampshire, saying that he expects the former Massachusetts senator to, if elected, play a key role in the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”
“You’ve got a great candidate for the Senate in Scott Brown,” Senator Paul said to a small group of students, New Hampshire politicians and local supporters. “We’re hoping he’ll be the 51st vote to repeal [Obamacare].”
Paul’s endorsement might serve as an assuring stamp of approval to some New Hampshire Republicans and Independents on the fence about Brown, who gained a reputation as a “liberal” Republican in the highly Democratic state of Massachusetts.
Although Brown voted to repeal “Obamacare” as a U.S. Senator, the Rye resident openly supported bipartisanship in congress. In 2011 — his first year in the Senate — he voted 54 percent of the time with his party according to a 2012 study, making him the second most bipartisan-senator that year.
Conversely, Paul is known for his transparently conservative stance. On Tuesday, he told a crowd in Manchester that he would “repeal all previous executive orders” if he were elected president in 2016.
Jennifer Horn, the Republican Party of New Hampshire’s executive committee chairman, said she believes having young people hear an endorsement from Sen. Paul is valued with the elections a month away.
“I think Rand Paul is a senator that young people really respect and are inspired by, and to have him here, I think is significant,” Horn said.
Paul also fielded questions regarding foreign policy and the approach the U.S. is taking towards eliminating the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
When asked about his stance on firing missiles at ISIS considering that they may have United States citizens in their ranks, he said the decision to turn a weapon on the U.S. in combat eliminates “due process” even for U.S. citizens.
“If you are engaged with battle against the United States, you really don’t get due process in the battlefield, so yeah, if you want to fight against the United States, you’re a target,” Paul said.
Brown, who said he endorsed the Ex-patriot Terrorist Act that Sen.Ted Cruz of Texas, introduced on Sept. 8 a bill that would allow the government to strip citizenship from Americans that join or assist a “designated foreign terrorist organization,” agreed with Paul.
“People in ISIS, they’ve left their citizenship at the door,” Brown said. “They’re not coming back to with a house and white picket fences; they’re coming back potentially using and hiding behind that citizenship. … They should not be able to hide behind the rights and privileges guaranteed by the Constitution, especially when they’re looking to hurt and kill our citizens.”
When asked if he would support “boots on the ground” in the plan to eliminate Islamic State, Paul would not give a direct answer, reiterating his previous statement that he agrees “with what the President is initiating against ISIS,” but that he believes “Congress should vote on this,” disagreeing with Obama’s decision to make the executive order without letting it go to a Congressional vote.
Paul kicked off his endorsement with a statement geared towards the many UNH students who grew up in the modern era of technology; attacking the post-9/11 surveillance sanctions that permit the National Security Agency and other organizations to track cell phones.
“How many of you think it’s a good idea the government know everything you do on your cell phone?” Paul said. “I think what I do on my cell phone is none of the government’s damn business.”
Mike Raccio, 20, a junior at UNH and Republican, said it’s important that politicians take the time to visit campuses like in Durham to show they care about student voters.
“We have these candidates come to campus, it’s great because I think a lot of people my age who feel as if Washington doesn’t care about the youth or cares more about older voters,” Raccio said. “It’s nice to see them come down and show they’re interested, and care about what we have to say.”