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Rand Paul’s tea party response: Obama ‘offers you free stuff’

In delivering a tea party response to the State of the Union, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) suggested that President Obama has won over lower-income voters with "free stuff," an echo of Mitt Romney's comments on the 47 percent and "gifts" to key demographics.

"The president offers you free stuff, but his policies keep you poor," Paul said, adding that "the ranks of the poor have swelled" during Obama's tenure.

Later in his speech, Paul appeared to be referencing a false rumor that Obama had given welfare recipients free phones. "We want you to have something infinitely more valuable than a free phone," he said. "We want you to have a job and pathway to success."

Paul said he would be introducing a five-year balanced budget next month. House Republicans have pledged to balance the budget in 10 years.

A lack of bipartisanship isn't the problem; in his view. "Both parties have been guilty of spending too much, of protecting their sacred cows, of backroom deals in which everyone up here wins, but every taxpayer loses," he said. "Bipartisanship is not what is missing in Washington, commonsense is."

He suggested "a new bipartisan consensus: It is time Democrats admit that not every dollar spent on domestic programs is sacred. And it is time Republicans realize that military spending is not immune to waste and fraud." He suggested we start by cutting military aid to Egypt and foreign aid to "countries that are burning our flag and chanting death to America."

If Congress doesn't balance the budget, "Then I say sweep the place clean, limit their terms, and send them home," Paul declared. Having been inside Congress, he said, he knows "there is no monopoly on knowledge there."

Paul once again suggested that Obama is acting like a "king" by using executive orders "to impinge on the Second Amendment" and make recess appointments. Unlike Republican leaders, who have supported Obama's drone program, Paul said that "we will not tolerate secret lists of American citizens who can be killed without trial."

And he touted school choice and immigration, saying that "we must be the party that says, 'If you want to work, if you want to become an American, we welcome you.'"

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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