A strong debate performance by Rand Paul last night earned respect even from those who have been relentlessly attacking him, the highlight being when Paul fact checked Donald Trump and made the frontrunner look like he had no clue what he was talking about.
As Trump was mid way through an aimless rant about China taking advantage of the TPP agreement and manipulating it’s currency to weaken the US, The Kentucky Senator chimed in to remind everyone that China is not a signatory to the TPP.
“If you take a look at how they (China) take advantage, it’s through currency manipulation. It’s not even discussed in the almost 6,000 page agreement,” Trump said.
“Hey, Gerard, you know, we might want to point out China is not part of this deal.” Paul interjected, addressing the Fox News host.
The Libertarian leaning candidate’s fact check drew applause from the crowd, who would have otherwise swallowed Trump’s rhetoric without question.
The moderators were also not forthcoming with actual facts on the subject, until Paul pointed out Trump’s omission.
Paul went on to point out that the TPP will likely weaken China, noting that his problem with the agreement is that it hands over too much power to the Presidency and bypasses Congress.
Another defining moment of the debate was when Paul called out Sen. Marco Rubio, accusing him of being a fake conservative.
Arguing that the government spends too much on the military, Paul asked Rubio “Can you be conservative and be liberal on military spending?”
“Marco! Marco! How is it conservative, how is it conservative to add a trillion-dollar expenditure for the federal government that you’re not paying for? How is it conservative?” Paul pressed, as Rubio floundered.
“How is it conservative to add a trillion dollars in military expenditures? You cannot be a conservative if you’re going to keep promoting new programs you’re not going to pay for.” Paul charged.
Paul also won the audience over on foreign policy, accusing his GOP rivals of being as hawkish as Hillary Clinton in advocating military action in the Middle East. Paul laid out the consequences of imposing a no-fly zone, a proposal most of his opponents support.
“Russia flies in that zone at the invitation of Iraq. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, but you better know at least what we’re getting into. So, when you think it’s going to be a good idea to have a no-fly zone over Iraq, realize that means you are saying we are going to shoot down Russian planes.” Paul urged.
“If you’re ready for that, be ready to send your sons and daughters to another war in Iraq…. I am not happy about them flying over there. But I’m not naive enough to say, well, Iraq has them flying over their airspace, we’re just going to announce that we’re shooting them down? That is naive to the point of being something you might hear in junior high.” the Senator further charged.
Paul ended the debate by stating “I’m the only fiscal conservative on the stage,” another popular sentiment that rings true when Paul is compared to the other candidates who all support big government spending.
“Sizing up last night’s main-stage candidates, it’s clear Rand Paul came out ahead.” the Salon article states.
“There are plenty of reasons to oppose Rand Paul’s political philosophy, but at least he has one, and it’s both coherent and consistent – that was evident last night.” the lefty site lamented.
“At the Republican debate in Milwaukee on Tuesday night, though, the old Paul was back: the guy who is steadfast and combative in his libertarianism, but in a likable way.” the Huffington Post wrote.
“He might as well go for the Hail Mary now and position himself as the person he truly is: the only candidate who’s skeptical of a recklessly robust American military, an infinitely funded Pentagon.” penned Slate.
Is this the turning point for Rand Paul’s campaign?
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.