Trailing badly in the polls with less than two months until the Iowa caucuses, Kentucky junior U.S. Sen. Rand Paul acknowledged Sunday that he would reassess his presidential campaign if he doesn’t do well in the four early-voting states.
But, in an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union, Paul said he didn’t think that would happen, telling Tapper his campaign was “going to shock people.”
After Tapper asked Paul whether he would focus on his Senate re-election if he didn’t do well in any of the four early voting states, Paul conceded that he would.
“Yes, I do need to do well in the early primaries,” Paul said. “We’re in it to win it. We’re not in it just to mess around. I’m not in it to place in the lower tier.”
He added: “If we’re in the lower tier, obviously we’ll reassess.
“But we don’t plan to be. We’ve got a campaign that we think is going to shock people.”
I think we’ve all let the polls consume us too much. I don’t think the polls are very accurate.
Citing polls from the Kentucky race for governor that showed eventual winner Matt Bevin losing to Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway just days before the election, Paul said that once the actual voting starts, observers will begin “discounting the pollsters who I think have no clue as to what’s going on in America.”
“I think we’ve all let the polls consume us too much,” Paul said. “I don’t think the polls are very accurate.”
Polls consistently have shown New York real estate developer Donald Trump as the front-runner in the GOP presidential primary by a significant margin.
On Sunday, Paul agreed with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s assertion that he finds it “deeply discouraging” Trump is the front-runner.
“I think he’ll get wiped out in a general election, and it would be terrible for any of the ideas of limited government,” Paul said.
Paul joined other incredulous Republicans in accusing Trump of not knowing what the nuclear triad was during last week’s GOP debate, saying Trump had “no clue” that the triad was a description of the three ways the United States can fire nuclear weapons.
Tapper played a clip of a Trump spokeswoman asking, “what good does it do to have a good nuclear triad if you’re afraid to use it?”
“Now that they’ve discovered what it is, they’re ready to use it,” Paul said. “No, I think this is what is very worrisome about not only Trump, but (New Jersey Gov. Chris) Christie and others on the stage who are really eager to have war, really eager to show how strong they are.”
Paul also signaled his intention to launch a new wave of criticism aimed at U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Paul’s campaign plans to release web ads Monday that will hit Cruz as a politician who flip-flopped on immigration policy.
“I think on several things he wants to have it both ways,” Paul said.
And Paul continued his criticisms of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who said in an interview that Paul was “the only person who likes politics so much he’s running for two offices at the same time.”
“He wants to be senator and president,” said Rubio, who is not seeking re-election to the Senate.
Paul responded by repeating his call for Rubio to resign his Senate seat because of the Florida senator’s poor attendance when the Senate votes.
“The difference between Marco Rubio and I is I show up for work,” Paul said.